* IMF lifts growth outlook for both 2018, 2019 to 3.9
* Strong demand comes as OPEC/Russia withhold oil supplies
* But crumbling refinery profits could dent crude orders
* Gasoline demand to peak in 2015 as EVs rise - BoAML
(Adds IMF outlook, falling refinery profits, updates prices)
By Henning Gloystein
SINGAPORE, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Tuesday,
lifted by healthy economic growth as well as the ongoing supply
restraint by a group of exporters around OPEC and Russia.
Spot Brent crude futures were at $69.41 at 0409 GMT,
up 38 cents, or 0.55 percent, from their last close, not far off
the Jan. 15 three-year high of $70.37 a barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were
at $63.99 a barrel, up 42 cents, or 0.7 percent, from their last
settlement. WTI hit its highest since December 2014 on Jan. 16
at $64.89 a barrel.
Traders said oil markets were generally well supported by
healthy economic growth.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday revised
upward its forecast for world economic growth in 2018 and 2019,
to 3.9 percent for both 2018 and 2019, a 0.2 percentage point
increase from its last update in October.
The "economic outlook and seasonally colder weather has led
to firmer oil demand growth, facilitating the continuation of a
fall in oil inventories towards OPEC's recent five-year average
target," BNP Paribas said in a note.
This growth, which is also translating into more oil
consumption, comes at a time of supply curbs by the Organization
of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, which
began in January last year and are set to hold throughout 2018.
"The outlook for 2018 is roughly balanced for most of the
year, but inventories are set to rise in Q4'18," the French bank
said, adding that it has hiked its 2018 oil price forecasts by
$10 a barrel and expects WTI to average $60 a barrel and Brent
But there have also been signs of a possible crude oil
downward price correction.
Crumbling refinery profits, first in Asia and now also in
Europe and the United States, as a result of rising feedstock
prices and plentifully available fuel products, point to lower
crude orders going forward.
In the longer term, investors are preparing for large-scale
changes in oil demand coming from the rise of electric vehicles.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch said this week in a note to
investors that "we see peak oil demand by 2030 on electric
vehicles...Electric vehicles will have replaced conventional
(vehicles) by 2050."
The bank also said that "when gasoline demand peaks by 2025
(and total oil by 2030), refinery utilisation rates may decline
permanently and refining margins suffer heavily."
(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Richard Pullin and
First Published: 2018-01-23 03:09:29
Updated 2018-01-23 06:13:10
© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.