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Crude oil rally continues as Brent rises to near three-year high

Oil prices continued to rally Oct. 18 amid the short-term crude undersupply, with Brent now rising for six consecutive weeks.

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ICE December Brent crude futures rose 94 cents/b from the previous settlement at $85.90/b as of 1101 GMT Oct. 18 while the NYMEX November WTI futures contract was up $1.32/b at $83.60/b.

The bullishness in the crude market followed reports in the week ended Oct. 16 by OPEC and IEA confirming global supply shortages, improving mobility and an increased demand outlook. The OPEC+ countries seem to be reluctant to increase supply more than previously agreed because it is predicted that global oil inventories will start to soar in 2022.

At the same time, the fact that some OPEC countries have struggled to increase output due to a lack of operating capacity and compliance with the planned output cuts, among other reasons, have kept oil supplies tight in the short term.

Crude oil also has been supported by high natural gas prices, encouraging users to switch to fuel oil and diesel for power generation especially as colder weather approaches in the Northern Hemisphere.

"This tight market situation argues against any end to the rising crude oil and oil product prices in the near future," according to Carsten Fritsch, commodity analyst at Commerzbank.

Market analysts said demand is likely to remain supported by the recent developments on Chinese crude imports quota.

"After weaker-than-expected volumes in September, China's imports of crude oil are likely to pick up after Beijing announced the issue of a new batch of quotas for private refiners," ANZ analysts said in a report Oct. 18.

In terms of market volatility, the CBOE OVX index, an indicator of crude oil price volatility, was lower on the day at 34.05%.

In currencies, the dollar was relatively stable against the euro, down 0.14% at $1.1585.