Oil Prices Set for Best Week in Over 2 Months on Solid Demand Outlook

FILE PHOTO: Petrochemical storage tanks are seen at the Suncor Energy chemical plant near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, October 7, 2021.  REUTERS/Todd Korol/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Petrochemical storage tanks are seen at the Suncor Energy chemical plant near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, October 7, 2021. REUTERS/Todd Korol/File Photo
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Oil Prices Set for Best Week in Over 2 Months on Solid Demand Outlook

FILE PHOTO: Petrochemical storage tanks are seen at the Suncor Energy chemical plant near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, October 7, 2021.  REUTERS/Todd Korol/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Petrochemical storage tanks are seen at the Suncor Energy chemical plant near Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, October 7, 2021. REUTERS/Todd Korol/File Photo

Oil prices eased on Friday as markets evaluated the impact of US interest rates staying higher for longer than anticipated, but crude benchmarks headed for their best week in more than two months after solid projections for crude and fuel demand.
Brent crude futures were down 34 cents, or 0.4%, at $82.41 a barrel by 0344 GMT. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) US crude futures lost 41 cents, or 0.5%, to trade at $78.21 a barrel.
However, Brent and the US benchmark gained over 3% for the week - the best week since April 5.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stuck to a forecast for relatively strong growth in global oil demand for 2024 and Goldman Sachs projected solid US fuel demand this summer.
This helped reverse losses in the previous week which were driven by an agreement by OPEC and its allies, together called OPEC+, to start unwinding output cuts after September.
"Overall, this week can be characterized as a recovery effort for oil," said Tim Waterer, chief market analyst at KCM Trade based in Australia.
"I wouldn't be surprised to see oil prices head higher from here whilst the demand outlook continues to look rosier. Much may depend on how the northern hemisphere summer demand picture plays out."
Providing further support to the market, Russia pledged to meet its output obligations under the OPEC+ pact, after saying it exceeded its quota in May.
However, the price rally this week cooled after the US Federal Reserve held interest rates steady and pushed out the start of rate cuts to as late as December.
Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency said in a report on Wednesday it sees oil demand peaking by 2029, leveling off at around 106 million barrels per day (bpd) towards the end of the decade.
On the downside, concerns over economic outlook grew after the Fed's view on rate cut, but that said, to the extent that this buoys the US dollar, it could offer a measure of support to Brent, BMI analysts wrote in a note.
Market focus is also on the ongoing Gaza ceasefire talks, which, if resolved, would alleviate concerns about potential disruptions in oil supply from the region.
The US is very concerned that hostilities on the Israel-Lebanon border could escalate to a full-out war, a senior US official said, saying that specific security arrangements are needed for the area and a ceasefire in Gaza is not enough.



UK Borrowing Overshoot Underscores Task for New Government

Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
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UK Borrowing Overshoot Underscores Task for New Government

Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Larry the Cat sits on Downing Street in London, Britain July 19, 2024. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Britain's government borrowed a lot more than forecast in June, according to official data published on Friday that highlighted the big budget challenges facing the new government of Prime Minister Keir Starmer.
Public sector net borrowing, excluding state-controlled banks, was a larger-than-expected 14.5 billion pounds ($18.75 billion) last month. A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to an increase of 11.5 billion pounds.
Dennis Tatarkov, Senior Economist at KPMG UK, said the data showed "the daunting task" for the new government to fund its agenda without worsening the public finances.
"A combination of high levels of spending and weak growth prospects will present uncomfortable choices – deciding between even more borrowing or substantially raising taxes if spending levels are to be maintained," he said.
New finance minister Rachel Reeves is likely to announce her first budget after parliament's summer recess. She and Starmer have ruled out increases in the rates of income tax, corporation tax and value-added tax, leaving her little room for maneuver to improve public services and boost investment.
Reeves has ordered an immediate review of the new government's "spending inheritance", a move that lawmakers from the opposition Conservative Party say could presage increases in taxes on capital gains or inheritances.
"Today's figures are a clear reminder that this government has inherited the worst economic circumstances since the Second World War, but we’re wasting no time to fix it," Darren Jones, a deputy Treasury minister, said after the data was published.
Starmer's government says it will speed up Britain's slow-moving economy - and generate more tax revenues - via a combination of pro-growth reforms and a return to political stability that will attract investment.
The borrowing figure for June was 2.9 billion pounds higher than expected by Britain's budget watchdog whose forecasts underpin government tax and spending plans.
In the first three months of the financial year which began in April, borrowing was 3.2 billion pounds higher than projected by the Office for Budget Responsibility at 49.8 billion pounds.
The Office for National Statistics said June's borrowing was the lowest for the month since 2019, helped by a big drop in spending on interest paid on bonds linked to inflation which has slowed sharply.
But the deficit was made bigger by a 1.2 billion-pound fall in social security contributions compared with June 2023. They were cut by former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak before the July 4 election that swept Starmer's Labour Party to power.