Oil Prices Gain After IEA Says Market Tight

By Reuters
February 11, 2022 Updated: February 11, 2022

LONDON—Oil prices rose on Friday after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said oil markets were tight, but were still heading for weekly losses on inflation worries and U.S.–Iran which could boost global supplies.

Brent crude futures rose $1.01, or 1.1 percent, to $92.42 a barrel at 1203 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude gained $1.15, or 1.3 percent, to $91.03 a barrel.

Prices are on track for their first weekly decline after seven consecutive weekly gains, however.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates could help to calm volatile oil markets if they pumped more crude, the IEA said on Friday, adding that the OPEC+ alliance produced 900,000 barrels per day (bpd) below target in January.

The two OPEC+ producers have the most spare production capacity and could help to relieve dwindling global oil inventories that have been among factors pushing prices towards $100 a barrel, deepening inflation worldwide.

The IEA also raised its 2022 demand forecast by 800,000 bpd based on revisions to historical data. It expects global demand to expand by 3.2 million bpd this year reaching an all-time record 100.6 million bpd.

This comes after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said that world oil demand might rise even more steeply this year amid a strong post-pandemic economic recovery.

The prospect of an aggressive U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hike and ongoing talks between the United States and Iran on the latter’s nuclear program capped further gains in prices, however.

“Yesterday’s inflation number likely puts more pressure on the U.S. Fed to act more aggressively with rate hikes. This expectation is weighing on oil and the broader commodities complex somewhat,” said Warren Patterson, ING’s head of commodities research.

St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard had said he wanted a full percentage point of interest rate hikes by July 1, following the release of U.S. inflation data that saw its biggest annual increase in 40 years.

Indirect talks between the United States and Iran to revive a nuclear deal, resumed this week after a 10-day break. A deal could see the lifting of sanctions on Iranian oil and ease global supply tightness.

By Ahmad Ghaddar