Feb 07 2023
Crude oil futures were rangebound in mid-morning Asian trade Feb. 6 as the market monitors the immediate impact of the G7 price cap and EU ban on Russian oil products that kicked in Feb. 5 and OPEC+'s ongoing cautious approach to raising production levels.
At 10:23 am Singapore time (0223 GMT), the ICE April Brent futures contract was up 9 cents/b (0.11%) from the previous close at $80.03/b, while the NYMEX March light sweet crude contract was 4 cents/b (0.05%) higher at $73.43/b.
"From weekend chats, traders are very unsure about how the products price cap regulation will work and its impact on the different grades," SPI Asset Management Managing Partner Stephen Innes said in a Feb. 6 note.
"So many oil traders were sitting on their hands last week waiting to see that play out. And it could have explained some of the craziness, given the lack of price discovery," he added.
The price cap on Russian oil products was imposed Feb. 5 with the G7, the EU and Australia agreeing on caps of $100/b on imports of Russian products that typically trade at a premium to crude, such as diesel, kerosene and gasoline, and $45/b on products like fuel oil that generally trade at a discount to crude.
New sanctions banning EU countries from importing seaborne Russian oil products also kicked in Feb. 5, after similar sanctions were imposed on Russian crude in December, as part of the continuing global response to the war in Ukraine.
Analysts expect the market to be volatile this week amid uncertainty over the price impact of both measures.
Meanwhile, OPEC+ remains cautious in its stance on crude production quotas, with Saudi Arabia waiting for clearer signs of rising demand before committing to hike crude production with its OPEC+ counterparts.
"OPEC's continued constraint on supply should keep the market tight," ANZ Research's Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes said in a Feb. 6 note.
Analysts with S&P Global Commodity Insights said they expect global oil supply to exceed demand through May, leading to inventory builds that could cap upside for crude prices.
Dubai crude swaps and intermonth spreads were mixed in mid-morning trade in Asia Feb. 6 from the previous close.
The April Dubai swap was pegged at $75.97/b at 10 am Singapore time (0200 GMT), down $1.99/b (2.55%) from the Feb. 3 Asian market close.
The March/April Dubai swap intermonth spread was pegged at 65 cents/b at 10 am, down 1 cents/b over the same period, and the April/May intermonth spread was pegged at 61 cents/b, up 2 cents/b.
The April Brent/Dubai EFS was pegged at $4.10/b, up 15 cents/b.