Oil jumps 8% on stimulus hopes, spending cuts by U.S. producers

Oil prices jumped over eight percent on Tuesday, bouncing from the biggest rout in nearly 30 years a day earlier, as the possibility of economic stimulus encouraged buying and U.S. producers slashed spending in a move that could cut output.

On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump pledged to gird the U.S. economy against the impact of the spreading coronavirus outbreak. Japan's government said it planned to spend more than four billion U.S. dollars in a second package of steps to cope with the virus.

U.S. shale producers, including Occidental Petroleum Corp, deepened spending cuts that could reduce production.

"There was almost an immediate response from U.S. producers to cut spending that will likely result in diminished U.S. oil output in the months ahead," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York, noting "The rapidity of that response helped buoy the market after Monday's collapse."

Oil plunged about 25 percent on Monday. It rebounded on Tuesday along with equities and other financial markets.

Brent futures LCOc1 rose 2.86 U.S. dollars, or 8.3 percent, to settle at 37.22 U.S. dollars a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 rose 3.23 U.S. dollars, or 10.4 percent, to settle at 34.36 U.S. dollars.

"The oil price went up today because it went insanely down yesterday, and some bargain hunters are driving things up," said Bjoernar Tonhaugen, head of oil markets at energy consultant Rystad, noting "It will go down further with some days going up in between."

Both benchmarks plunged on Monday to their lowest since February 2016, their biggest one-day percentage declines since January 17, 1991, at the outset of the first Gulf War.

Trading volumes in the front-month for both contracts were well below the record highs seen on Monday, when volumes soared after Saudi Arabia, Russia and other major oil producers ended three years of cooperation to limit supply and started a price war for market share.

Saudi, the world's biggest oil exporter, escalated tensions with plans to supply 12.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, well above current production levels of 9.7 million bpd, according to Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser.

"Oil prices have managed to hold on to some gains despite Saudi Arabia's announcement to open the floodgates in April," Rystad's Tonhaugen said, noting "Saudi Arabia is not bluffing and the market will feel it next month.”

With oil erasing over a third of its value this week, OPEC members were bleeding over 500 million U.S. dollars a day in lost revenue, according to Reuters calculations.

Russian oil minister Alexander Novak said he did not rule out joint measures with OPEC to stabilize the market, adding that the next OPEC+ meeting was planned for May-June.

Saudi Arabia's energy minister, however, said he did not see a need to hold an OPEC+ meeting in May-June if there was no agreement on measures to deal with the impact of the coronavirus on oil demand and prices.

"I fail to see the wisdom for holding meetings in May-June that would only demonstrate our failure in attending to what we should have done in a crisis like this and taking the necessary measures," Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said.

Read more: Oil demand set for first contraction since 2009 due to coronavirus: IEA

Source(s): Reuters