Oil prices pump higher, WTI knocks on $69.00 despite rising U.S. stockpiles

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"The move is created to add more barrels to the market and reduce upward pressure on oil prices after unexpected outages in Venezuela and Libya pushed compliance to record high levels", said Reuters.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for August delivery added 0.68 us dollar to settle at 68.76 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for September delivery increased 0.74 dollar to close at 72.90 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange. Saudi Arabia also cut last week its official selling prices (OSPs) by US$0.20 for most of its grades to the Asian markets for August.

With the record refinery throughput, USA petroleum inventories held steady as an accumulation of refined product stocks more than offset the drawdown in crude oil stocks.

OPEC contributes one-third of global oil, adds or removes supplies in the market, which ultimately affect oil prices.

Prices have been dragged down by concerns about oversupply as some production returned after outages, while trade tensions between the USA and China stoked fears of damage to their economies and commodities demand. Moreover, its huge national market makes it virtually impossible for the U.S.to become a net exporter like OPEC members and Russian Federation.

Futures rose as much as 2.1% in NY on Thursday, reversing early-morning losses.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday domestic crude production reached a record 11 million bpd last week.

The problem for oil bulls is that the market remains oversupplied.

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The Energy Information Administration reported United States crude inventories rose by 5.84 million barrels last week, confounding most analysts in a Bloomberg survey who were forecasting a decline.

Crude prices rose on Friday but were set to drop for the week as concerns about oversupply and lower demand due to a possible economic slowdown caused by the trade conflict between the United States and China, the world's two biggest oil users.

In acknowledging that oil prices have fallen by nearly 10 percent over the last week as a result, John Kilduff, founding partner at Again Capital, remarked, "It's sort of like a piling on now at this point in terms of increased production from the Saudis, from the Russians, from Libya".

Speculation that US President Donald Trump could seek increased production from oil cartel OPEC and tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserves to push down gasoline prices, sent oil plummeting.

USA crude stocks rose by 5.8-million barrels last week, compared with a forecast of a decline of 3.6-million barrels.

News Wednesday of strong USA demand for gasoline and distillates gave the price only a brief boost.

"The correction in the oil price represents something of a convergence between fundamentals and physical realities", David Reid, lead crude market analyst at consultancy JBC Energy, told Reuters.

He said Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports in July would be roughly equal to June levels. The country has added almost 1-million barrels a day in production since November, thanks to rapid increases in shale drilling.

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