Oil Futures End Modestly Higher, But Post Weekly Loss Of 2.7%

Crude oil prices moved up on Friday amid an escalation in geopolitical tensions following the recent attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

However, prices came off higher levels as the session progressed with traders reacting to the latest reports from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the OPEC on energy demand outlook.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for July ended up $0.23, or about 0.4%, at $52.51 a barrel, off the day’s high of $53.98 a barrel.

For the week, WTA crude oil futures shed about 2.7%. Brent crude oil futures lost about 2.3% in the week.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has cut its outlook for oil demand growth in 2019, saying economic sentiment is weakening and the consequences for oil demand are becoming apparent.

The IEA revised down its 2019 demand growth estimate by 100,000 barrels to 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), but said it would climb to 1.4 million bpd for 2020.

The OPEC too has cut its forecast for growth in global oil demand due to trade disputes and hints at risk of a further reduction.

The OPEC now expects oil demand to rise by 1.14 million barrels per day this year, 70,000 barrels per day less than previously expected.

OPEC and its allies are scheduled to meet in July to decide on supply curbs.

Traders also weighed the likely consequences of the recent attacks on oil tanksers in the Gulf of Oman on global oil supply.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, accused Iran of orchestrating a series of attacks on tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, though Iran denied any involvement.

“These unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran,” Pompeo told reporters.

The U.S. military has released a video showing what it claimed was Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the oil tankers targeted near the key waterway.

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