Saudi Arabia is keeping crude oil exports constrained despite growing pressure from the US to open the taps. Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told the latest get-together of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) in Jeddah on 19 May that, with global inventories still rising, there is as yet no imperative to abandon production constraints.

Crude export figures appear to bolster Mr Falih’s statement. The latest Jodi data shows Saudi export volumes edged up to 7.14mn b/d for March, but this is still lower than January’s 7.25mn b/d. Overall, Q1 crude exports averaged 7.12mn b/d, the lowest quarterly figure since 4Q 2017 (see chart 1 and MEES, 24 May for full data). They appear on track to dip further in Q2. MEES pegs exports at a shade over 7mn b/d during April, and slightly less than this over the first half of May. (CONTINUED - 950 WORDS)