Shaky China!

China is projecting its slowest growth in 30 years giving oil bulls a chance to fade the negativity. On one hand, the Chinese government is predicting economic growth between 6% and 6.5% in 2019, down from last year's 6.6% rate. Yet, on the other hand, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for greater openness, allowing foreign investors greater access to China’s markets and allowing foreign firms to enter more sectors without Chinese partners.

This movement towards more openness and the possibility of a U.S. China trade deal means that the lowered demand expectations by China for oil have been overstated. The doom and gloom the bears have priced in has far exceeded the reality of a slowdown in China and underestimates China’s commitment to cut taxes and do what it can to keep the Chinese’s people working.

The Wall Street Journal reports that China plans “remedies to prop up growth: increasing deficit spending, launching new tax cuts and other fee reductions for businesses—totaling 2 trillion yuan, or 2% of China’s $13 trillion economy—and boosting bank lending to small and private companies by 30%.” This stimulus will help keep Chinese oil demand near the records that it is now experiencing.

Libya’s biggest oil field is back online, for now! Reports that Libya’s National Oil Corp. restarted limited production at its giant Sharara oil field, after the removal of gunmen who had occupied the field for three months. The Wall Street Journal reported “that the two wells at the Libyan field, which normally pumps 315,000 barrels a day, or nearly a third of the country’s average daily output, reopened late Monday, the person said. The oil facility is set to restart fully on Tuesday morning, he said.” Yet for how long! That is the question. The market will continue to look at Libyan barrels as a nice but unstable addition.

Back in Venezuela, opposition leader Juan Guaidó did not have to sneak back into Venezuela even as President Nicolas Maduro threatened to have him arrested. Perhaps threats by the U.S. had Maduro think twice about it. For oil, it means their standoff continues and it means it is still very bullish for oil going forward. Don’t look to OPEC to help, they are at 101% compliance to cuts and that is putting us on a path to a very tight market next month.

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