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Oil Traders Are Daring to Defy Market Kingpin Saudi Arabia


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"Oil traders are starting to ignore the most important person in the market. It could prove a risky gambit.

Most Read from Bloomberg

A week ago, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman pledged to unilaterally cut the country’s July oil production to the lowest in over a decade, excluding Covid-19 era curtailments. He described the move as a “lollipop.”

While there’ve been bigger output cuts in recent months, its symbolism was important, and Prince Abdulaziz left open the possibility of extending the curb. It also came on the back of a litany of comments that suggest the prince wants to hurt those who speculate on lower prices.

Yet, traders are becoming less responsive. The immediate price gain from the curbs he announced on last Sunday lasted a day. By Friday at 5 p.m. in London, Brent futures were around $76 a barrel — almost exactly where they were a week earlier. A previous output cut in April took less than a month to wear off on prices.

Speaking on Sunday, the prince said the OPEC+ agreement was about being proactive and precautionary. “I think the physical market is telling us something and the futures market is telling us something else,” he said at the Arab, China Business Conference in Riyadh. “To understand OPEC+ today, it’s all about being proactive, preemptive and precautionary.”

Despite expectations that oil demand will outstrip supply in the coming months, several things are fueling the bears’ confidence. Two negatives really stand out: the first is that Russian shipments have boomed in the face of expectations that western sanctions would curtail them. The second is concern about the fate of China’s economy, for years the bedrock of demand growth."

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When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius


“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

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