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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery added 73 cents to $70.45 on the New York Merc, while Brent for November added 59 cents to $3.45 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $11.94 to WTI, up from a discount of $11.96. Natural gas for October shot up 29 cents to $5.23. The TSX energy index added 5.28 points to close at 130.13.
Oil prices headed higher, buoyed by a bullish new demand forecast from OPEC and the spectre of ore supply disruptions along the U.S. Gulf Coast. OPEC released the latest version of its closely watched monthly report this morning. Although analysts had spent the last few days fretting about COVID-19 and predicting that OPEC would decrease its 2022 forecast for global oil demand, the group instead increased this forecast to 100.8 million barrels a day. This figure exceeds pre-COVID levels and represents a 900,000-barrel-a-day increase from last month's estimate.
On the supply side, the U.S. Gulf Coast energy industry is bracing for another hurricane hit. Barely two weeks have passed since Hurricane Ida idled over 90 per cent of the region's offshore oil production, with 40 per cent remaining off-line as of today. Now Tropical Storm Nicholas is closing in and may exacerbate Ida's damage. The National Hurricane Center is forecasting landfall in Texas late this evening.
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