OPEC production cuts unlikely to hold?

Seeking Alpha:
For some time I've been very bearish on the potential effect of an OPEC production cut deal, recently pointing out the idea it seems far too good to be true. I maintain that outlook, as do others, like the Bank of Russia, which stated, "Factors underpinning the emergence of excess supply in the oil market are still in effect." I agree.

Also of interest is the fact OPEC continues to pump at record levels, even after the announcement of the deal, making a number of those watching the market confused by the mixed messages. Keep in mind that cutting exports isn't the same as cutting output. Oil can also be made into other products, which are distributed in different ways than the tanker and pipeline suppliers the market follows distribute.

It can of course also be added to stockpiles, which is probably going to be the key indicator followed in the next couple of months as to compliance to quotas. Again, the challenge there is oil could be refined into other products and shipped that way, giving the appearance of stronger compliance than justified.

For example, Saudi Arabia recently announced its exports of crude oil dropped in October by about 176,000 barrels per day, even though production was at high levels. At the same time its shipments for refined products jumped, offsetting the decline in crude shipments.
The Russian cuts appear to follow a surge in production putting them back closer to their normal level of production.   Since the cuts are voluntary there is no real mechanism to deal with "cheating."  In recent months we have seen a cycle of proposed cuts announced to juice the price then reality sets in and the market slides again followed by the announcement of another meeting of OPEC and sometimes non-OPEC members where they will pretend to agree to future cuts again.

I also expect to see OPEC share of US consumption continue to shrink as President-elect Trump's deregulation efforts take hold and US production increases.


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