OPEC Reference Basket increased for the fifth-straight month in January, MOMR

VIENNA, 12th February, 2018 (WAM) -- The OPEC Reference Basket increased for the fifth-straight month in January, gaining a sharp 7.7% to average $66.85/b, the highest monthly average since November 2014, according to OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report, MOMR.

''Oil prices were supported by continuing efforts by OPEC and participating non-OPEC producers to balance the market and ten consecutive weeks of crude inventory draws amid healthy economic growth and improving oil demand,'' noted the MOMR for the month of February.

''ICE Brent was $4.99 higher at $69.08/b in January, while NYMEX WTI surged $5.71 to $63.66/b. The ICE Brent/NYMEX WTI spread narrowed 73¢ to $5.42/b. Hedge funds raised net long positions in ICE Brent and NYMEX WTI to 1.08 million contracts, a new all-time high record,'' the report said.

''The market structures for Brent, WTI and Dubai are in sustained backwardation. In the first week of February, crude oil futures lost around $6/b from the end of January amid an overall decline in equity markets and a slide in the US dollar as well as stronger-than-expected US supply and a build in US inventories'' it indicated.

WAM/Tariq alfaham/Hassan Bashir