Bearish and bullish drivers of oil prices in 2019

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The IEA said non-OPEC production growth was set to slow to 1.6 million bpd in 2019 after record annual gains of 2.6 million bpd in 2018.

While crude oil market saw highly active week so far, there is no visible change in actual price action. As of writing this article, Spot Crude oil WTIUSD is trading at $52.74 per barrel up by 1.07% on the day.

The on its way to producing more crude than either Russian Federation or Saudi Arabia, who until recently vied for the top spot.

Analysts said oil prices had been weighted down by the expectations of weaker economic growth which would lead to weaker crude oil demand.

While Opec and 10 other producers - including Russia, Mexico and Kazakhstan - have pledged to cut production by nearly 1.2 million barrels a day for the next six months, the waivers the United States granted on its sanctions against Iran saw the republic's exports increase to about 1.3 million barrels a day in December.

During a meeting of oil producers in Vienna in December 2016, 11 non-OPEC countries (including Azerbaijan) agreed to reduce oil production by 558,000 barrels per day.

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Specifically, the prices of Brent, West Texas Intermediate, WTI and OPEC basket stood at $62.90, $53.92 and $60.90 respectively.

"It remains quite likely that the trade spat with the US has played a part in this latest slowdown", CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson said.

Just months earlier, they had relaxed production caps as prices shot higher on market worries about the impact of USA sanctions on Iran, but Washington eventually granted waivers allowing several countries to continue to import Iranian oil.

EIA expects US regular retail gasoline prices to follow changes to the cost of crude oil, dipping from an average of $2.73/gallon in 2018 to $2.47/gallon in 2019, before rising to $2.62/gallon in 2020.

Oil is still about 20 percent above the lows reached in late December, but analysts said Brent has been trading in the low $60s and USA crude in the low $50s due to ongoing nervousness about relations between Washington and Beijing and China's economic outlook. Prices got another boost later, on expectations that U.S. sanctions on Iran would cut supplies to major importers including China, India and Japan. That's an area that of course attract a lot of attention but we are also in the process of building an inverse head and shoulders, which could measure for a move to the $66 area.

The group said the impact of higher oil prices in 2018 was "fading", which should help to offset cooling economic growth over the coming months. Longs rose 1.8 percent, while shorts fell 10 percent.