The markets focus on the good news about vaccination campaigns and demand in Asia, ignoring the worrying rise in crude oil stocks in the United States.
A symbolic milestone is reached. On Thursday, December 10, a barrel of Brent crude oil was quoted at more than 50 dollars for the first time since the beginning of March, at the start of the pandemic. It was up by nearly 4% at the end of the afternoon, buoyed by the hope of a future diffusion of vaccines against Covid-19 in a growing number of countries.
According to Bjornar Tonhaugen, of the Rystad Energy firm, traders are welcoming the start of vaccination campaigns in the United States and Canada in the next few days. This is much faster than expected just a few weeks ago. The brent is also buoyed by the prospect of a new plan to help households and businesses in the United States.
Announcements by the International Energy Agency (IEA) of a massive increase in US oil stocks of 15.2 million barrels in the first week of December have not affected the oil market. However, crude oil stocks have thus once again crossed the 500-million-barrel threshold at their highest level for nearly 4 months, and close to the record of 539 million barrels reached in mid-June last year when global storage capacity reached saturation.
The market seems to have been unaware of the sharp rise in US crude oil stocks. Given that the North American market is a big consumer, vaccines against covid-19 seems to be the catalyst to revive hopes for a rebound in oil demand and thus a way out of the crisis.
In Paris, the rise in the price of black gold is already benefiting the sector’s stocks. Total, TechnipFMC and Vallourec have each taken a 2.5% stake.
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by Nicolas Boudou