Oil rises towards $69 but set for 2019's biggest weekly loss

Analysts however say oil markets remain tight amid OPEC-led supply cuts

On Wednesday, the 22nd of May 2019, the Crude oil futures lost roughly 2 percent, as a surprising rise of US oil inventories had added to investors' worries that a long and costly Sino-US trade war would be curbing industrial activities alongside crude oil demands eventually.

Futures in NY rebounded as much as 1.4% Friday after plunging 5.7% the day before.

Data released by industry body American Petroleum Institute showed that United States crude inventories increased by 2.4 million barrels for the week ending May 17 to 480.2 million barrels.

West Texas Intermediate crude for July delivery rose 72 cents to US$58.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange Friday.

"Brent prices are down. this week as U.S. -China trade war" were also weighing on oil prices.

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US inventories also rose due to more sluggish refinery rates than normal for this time of year.

Weak refinery demand and the planned sale of US strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) into the commercial market have also set up crude for its worst weekly performance in 6 months.

Instituting a tariff on US crude would not only potentially limit its options for acquisition but also undercut Beijing's argument that it is in such dire need of crude that it should be granted a waiver to continue importing oil from Iran, a waiver that Chinese companies are seeking to obtain to avoid USA sanctions.

"A decline below our expected next support level of $56 (for WTI) will likely associate with a further plunge in equities that would be heavily related to unresolved trade issues between the USA and China. volatility across all markets will be heightened until some significant trade progress is seen".

Global geopolitical risk was still sufficient to provide a floor for oil prices, said Again's Kilduff. -China trade tensions have hit global markets, with the MSCI All Country index headed for a weekly fall exceeding 1%, its third week in the red.

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USA sanctions on OPEC members Iran and Venezuela have curbed their crude exports, reducing supplies further.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russian Federation, an alliance known as OPEC+, have been cutting supply since January to tighten the market and prop up prices.

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley has projected that tight supply and demand fundamentals will help push Brent prices to trade in a $75-$80 per barrel range in the second-half of 2019.

The oil market has built in risk premium related to U.S. sanctions on Iran, and that risk is now seen decreasing, he said. But despite analysts calling the plunging oil prices a "bloodbath", the WTI is still showing a year-to-date gain of 28 percent, while London Brent is up 26 percent this year.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC's de facto leader, said it was committed to a balanced and sustainable oil market.

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