Investing.com - The Saudi theatre act to prop up the oil market ahead of taking Saudi Aramco public is already working with crude prices getting another 2%-plus pop on Thursday on a news leak that OPEC’s existing production cuts will be extended until June.
Added to Wednesday’s 3% rally, oil prices have more than made up their combined losses of around 5% in the first two sessions of this week.
And oil has basically decoupled from the stock market and fears of a no-deal in the U.S.-China trade dispute. The trade war has been a major factor for crude traders as late as Monday.
“Basically in 24 hours, the market has gone from the doom and gloom of poor price action to back to around 200-day Moving Averages, and I struggle to understand why,” Scott Shelton, energy futures broker at ICAP in Durham, North Carolina, said.
NYMEX-traded West Texas Intermediate crude settled up $1.57, or 2.8%, at $58.58 per barrel.
Brent crude, the global benchmark that's traded in London, gained $1.57, or 2.5%, to close at $63.97.
WTI rose 3.4% on Wednesday while Brent rose 2% after U.S. government data showed a slightly lower-than-expected build in weekly crude stockpiles that market bulls took as a sign to chase prices higher.
Adding to the fervor of the previous session was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s indication that Moscow will support the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in whatever way necessary on production cuts when the cartel meets next month.
Russia is part of the OPEC+ alliance, formed with the 14-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which has committed to keeping 1.2 million barrels per day of supply off the market for price support.
The latest gains for WTI and Brent came after an OPEC source leaked to Reuters that the cartel and its allies were likely to extend existing oil output cuts when they meet next month until mid-2020. The goal is to keep the market propped up ahead of the listing of Saudi state oil company Aramco.
OPEC is due to meet Dec. 5-6, the same time Saudi Arabia is set to announce the final pricing for the initial public offering of the state-owned Saudi Aramco, expected to be the world's largest IPO.
“The Saudis don't want oil prices to fall, they want to put a floor under the prices because of the (Aramco) IPO," the source told Reuters.
According to the source, OPEC had two options: announce at its December meeting the extension of current cuts until June or defer the decision until March to see how the market performs.
"It is more likely that we will extend the agreement in December to send a positive message to the market,” the source told Reuters, indicating that was what the Saudis, who basically control the market, want.
The institutional tranche of the Saudi Aramco IPO has been oversubscribed while the retail portion has received a little more than 10 billion riyals ($2.67 billion) in orders so far, a banking source told Reuters on Thursday.
U.S. oil stocks moved higher in response to the oil-price rally. Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) was up 3.7%, for example. Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) added 2.4%.