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Oil: Will Saudi Arabia’s Stimulus Work?

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US crude oil last week

On March 1–8, US crude oil April futures rose 0.5% and closed at $56.07 per barrel. In the past week, rising concerns about an economic slowdown limited oil’s upside. The difference between US crude oil inventories and their five-year average rose by one percentage point for the week ending March 1—a bearish factor for oil prices.

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Will Saudi Arabia’s stimulus for oil work?

At 6:04 AM EST on March 11, US crude oil prices have risen 60 cents from last week’s closing level. The rise in oil prices could be because Saudi Arabia cut its oil exports below 7 MMbpd (million barrels per day) and lowered its oil output below 10 MMbpd in April, based on a Reuters report. The US oil rig count fell by nine to 834 last week—the lowest level since May. The chances of a slowdown in US crude oil production in the second quarter has risen due to a steep fall in the oil rig count in the last two weeks.

With the fall in Saudi Arabia’s oil output, the Brent-WTI spread might expand. Last week, Brent crude oil outperformed US crude oil prices. The outperformance might help US crude oil exports expand. The exports moderated in the previous two weeks. Oil bulls should watch this development closely.

On the upside, $58.56 could be an important level for US crude oil until March 15. Next, we’ll compare US equity indexes’ performance to oil prices. The sentiments across US crude oil prices and the S&P 500 Index (SPY) are often interrelated. Any rise in oil could boost upstream stocks like ConocoPhillips (COP), Hess (HES), and Chesapeake Energy (CHK).

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