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OIL FUTURES: Crude climbs amid tightened supply and demand outlooks

Highlights

BofA raises Brent price forecasts

US crude stocks likely edge lower amid stepped-up exports

Geopolitical risks rises amid Libya-Egypt flare up

New York — Crude futures edged higher June 22 as the market weighed a tightening global supply picture against uncertain demand outlooks amid a spike in COVID-19 cases around the world.

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NYMEX July WTI settled 71 cents higher at $40.46/b and ICE August Brent settled up 89 cents at $43.08/b. Front-month WTI last settled above $40/b on March 6.

BofA Securities has raised its oil price forecast for the next two years on signs of faster-than-expected global oil demand recovery, massive industry spending cuts and strong OPEC+ adherence to curbing crude supplies.

Brent crude will likely average $43.70/b this year, up $6.70 from a previous forecast on March 8, BofA Global Research said in a report.

"Our more constructive crude oil view reflects renewed confidence in the ongoing global oil demand recovery, in the damage to supply created by deep capex curtailments across the oil industry, and in the solid OPEC+ agreement to curb output," BofA Global Research said.

The bank also raised its 2021 and 2022 Brent price forecasts to $50 and $55/b respectively.

NYMEX July RBOB settled up 1.97 cents at $1.2913/gal and July ULSD climbed 72 points higher to $1.2186/gal.

US crude inventories likely edged lower last week as an expected uptick in exports and refinery demand was blunted by a likely increase in production, an S&P Global Platts analysis showed June 22.

Commercial crude stocks are expected to have declined by 100,000 barrels to around 539.3 million barrels during the week ended June 19, analysts surveyed by Platts said.

Tensions between Libya and its neighbor Egypt flared this weekend after Cairo threatened to take "direct" action if Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord advanced on the Libyan city of Sirte. Further armed conflict in the region could lead to a prolonged shutdown of Libya crude production.

State-owned National Oil Corp. briefly restarted production at the 75,000 b/d El Feel and 300,000 b/d Sharara fields earlier this month after a nearly five-month long oil blockade.

The interjection of yet another actor into Libya's chaotic civil war could portend an extended shut in of Libyan crude production. However, Libyan crude price differentials were so far unfazed by the rhetoric. Platts Es Sider crude was assessed June 22 at a $1.70/b discount to the Med dtd strip, the strongest since March 6.