Oil Rises

Crude oil jumped 10 percent, the biggest gain in five weeks, after the Saudi Arabian oil minister said he had delivered the output cuts promised to OPEC, a sign that world supplies are smaller than traders had estimated.

Ali al-Naimi, the Saudi minister, said in an interview that the kingdom pumped 8.493 million barrels of oil a day in November, close to its OPEC production quota of 8.477 million barrels a day. That’s 287,000 barrels a day less than estimated by the International Energy Agency.

Crude oil for January delivery rose $4.46 to $47.98 a barrel at 2:44 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since Dec. 1. It was the biggest gain since Nov. 4. Oil is up 18 percent so far this week, the largest one-week gain since June 1998, when OPEC slashed output by more than 3.1 million barrels a day.

Saudi Arabia’s oil production was absolutely” in line with its OPEC quota, al-Naimi said today in an interview in Poznan, Poland, where he is attending climate-protection talks. He declined to comment further on OPEC policy.

OPEC’s previous oil-supply cuts aren’t enough, and the group will need to make a substantial” additional reduction at its next meeting, on Dec. 17 in Oran, Algeria, Shokri Ghanem, Libya’s top oil official, said in a Bloomberg TV interview today.

Oil has tumbled 25 percent since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies about 40 percent of the world’s oil, announced a 1.5 million-barrel-a-day output cut on Oct. 24 in Vienna. Prices fell as fuel demand slumped and speculation grew that some members weren’t complying with their agreed-on quotas.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said his country, the second-biggest oil producer, may join OPEC and reduce output to support prices, RIA Novosti reported from Kurgan, Russia.

Oil for delivery in December 2009 traded at a $12.08 premium to January futures, down from a $14.27 premium on Dec. 8. The shrinking spread may indicate that storage space for oil is scarce and that the crude is being sold on the spot market, said Stephen Schork, president of the Schork Group, an energy markets analysis company in Philadelphia.

Contango trading encourages companies to increase stockpiles. U.S. crude-oil supplies rose in 10 of the past 11 weeks, according to the Energy Department.

Total volume in electronic trading on the exchange was 580,523 contracts, as of 3:10 p.m. in New York. Open interest yesterday was 1.16 million contracts. The exchange has a one-day delay in reporting open interest.

Oil also advanced because the dollar dropped to a seven-week low against the euro. A weaker U.S. currency increases demand for commodities as a hedge and makes raw materials cheaper for buyers with euros, yen or sterling. The dollar weakened 2.3 percent to $1.3316 per euro from $1.3023 yesterday.

The Paris-based IEA, an adviser to 28 nations, said global oil demand will contract this year for the first time since 1983 and reduced its outlook for 2009.

Consumption worldwide will shrink in 2008 by 200,000 barrels a day, or 0.2 percent, the IEA said in a monthly report today. Next year’s growth may be wiped out if the economic slump deepens, the agency said.

Brent crude oil for January settlement increased $4.99, or 12 percent, to settle at $47.39 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange, the biggest one-day gain since March 1998.



TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
12/11/2008 1:09:25 PM