Oil trades higher after two days of heavy losses

CNBC

  • Oil prices rose on Thursday and recouped a portion of the losses over the last two days that were driven by reports showing surprise gains in U.S. inventories of crude.
  • U.S. crude traded at $67.92 a barrel and global benchmark Brent was at $72.64.
  • U.S. crude inventories rose 3.8 million barrels last week as imports jumped, the government’s Energy Information Administration said.

Oil prices rose on Thursday, recouping a portion of the losses of the last two days that were driven by reports showing surprise gains in U.S. inventories of crude, along with mounting concern over trade friction between the U.S. and China.

Brent crude futures were up 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $72.64 a barrel by 0055 GMT, after dropping 2.5 percent on Wednesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures increased by 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $67.92 a barrel. They fell $1.6 percent in the previous session.

U.S. crude inventories rose 3.8 million barrels last week as imports jumped, the government’s Energy Information Administration said.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a decline of 2.8 million barrels.

There were some bullish elements in the report, notably gasoline stocks declining by 2.5 million barrels.

Also, crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for WTI futures were down, dropping by 1.3 million barrels, EIA data showed.

On Tuesday, the EIA reported that U.S. crude production fell 30,000 barrels per day to 10.44 million bpd in May.

Nonetheless, the tough talk from Washington on trade with China has put pressure on oil prices.

U.S. President Donald Trump sought to ratchet up pressure on China for trade concessions by proposing a higher 25 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, his administration said on Wednesday.

China said it would hit back if the United States takes further steps on trade.

Brent prices fell more than 6 percent and U.S. crude slumped about 7 percent, the biggest monthly declines for both benchmarks since July 2016.

Brazilian oil exports hit a record in July, nearly three times its shipments in June and 50 percent higher than a year earlier, government data showed on Wednesday.

Iraq exported 3.543 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude from its southern ports in July, slightly above the June average, the oil ministry said on Wednesday.

Russian oil production last month was on average above the level Moscow promised following the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC meeting in June, energy minister Alexander Novak indicated on Wednesday.

Novak said that higher production was needed to maintain the market’s stability.

Oil prices stable as lower crude stocks counter soaring US output

CNBC

  • Oil prices were stable on Thursday
  • U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 5.6 million barrels in the week to Dec. 1, to 448.1 million barrels, putting stocks below seasonal levels in 2015 and 2016
  • The fall was countered by soaring output

Oil jack pumps are pictured in the Kern River oil field in Bakersfield, Calif.

Jonathan Alcorn | Reuters
Oil jack pumps are pictured in the Kern River oil field in Bakersfield, Calif.

Oil prices were stable on Thursday as a fall in U.S. crude inventories was countered by soaring output and a rise in fuel stocks.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $55.95 a barrel at 0658 GMT, virtually unchanged from their last settlement.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $61.29 a barrel, up 7 cents.

U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 5.6 million barrels in the week to Dec. 1, to 448.1 million barrels, putting stocks below seasonal levels in 2015 and 2016.

Despite this, prices were prevented from rising further.

“Traders were more concerned about the steep rise in gasoline inventories,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.

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Gasoline stocks rose 6.8 million barrels, to 220.9 million barrels, according to the report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), much more than analyst expectations in a Reuters poll for a gain of 1.7 million barrels.

“This suggests that refiners may not need to process as much crude in the future,” ANZ said in a note on Thursday.

“The EIA report also showed that U.S. production increased again,” the bank said.

U.S. crude production climbed by 25,000 barrels per day (bpd)to 9.71 million bpd, the highest since monthly figures showing the United States produced more than 10 million bpd in the early 1970s.

Soaring U.S. output threatens to undermine efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia to bring production and demand into balance following years of oversupply.

Sukrit Vijayakar, managing director of energy consultancy Trifecta warned there were “darker shadows over the pace of rebalancing, if at all any is taking place.”