Oil prices gain after bigger-than-expected fall in US stockpiles

CNBC

Reuters
KEY POINTS
  • Brent crude futures rose 51 cents, or 0.6%, to $62.89 a barrel by 0405 GMT.
  • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were up 54 cents, or 0.9%, to $57.94 a barrel.
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Oil prices traded higher on Wednesday after an industry report said U.S. crude stockpiles fell last week by more than twice the amount that analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast.

Brent crude futures rose 51 cents, or 0.6%, to $62.89 a barrel by 0405 GMT, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were up 54 cents, or 0.9%, to $57.94 a barrel.

Prices had ended lower on Tuesday, squeezed by speculation of sanctions-hit Iranian crude returning to the market following U.S. President Donald Trump’s move to fire national security adviser John Bolton, a noted Iran policy hawk.

But they rebounded after American Petroleum Institute (API) data late on Tuesday showed U.S. crude oil and gasoline stocks fell last week, while distillate stocks built.

“Oil should remain supported in Asian trading, mostly supported by the overnight API crude inventory data,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

The API numbers had U.S. crude inventories down by 7.2 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 6 to 421.9 million, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll of a decrease of 2.7 million barrels.

Halley said he was expecting a draw down of 4.8 million barrels when official numbers are released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) later on Wednesday.

Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub fell by 1.4 million barrels, the API said, while refinery crude runs rose by 208,000 barrels per day.

Gasoline stocks fell by 4.5 million barrels, the industry group said, compared with analysts’ expectations of an 847,000-barrel decline in a Reuters poll.

Prices had risen sharply before Bolton’s removal, boosted after Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s new energy minister, said the kingdom’s oil policy would not change and a deal with other producers to cut output by a combined 1.2 million barrels per day would be maintained.

Iran’s oil exports were slashed by more than 80% due to re-imposed sanctions by the United States after Trump last year exited the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

Oil hits six-week high on hopes of extended OPEC output cuts

CNBC

Reuters
KEY POINTS
  • Brent was up 26 cents, or 0.4%, at $62.85 a barrel by 0349 GMT.
  • U.S. crude was 27 cents, or 0.5%, higher at $58.12 a barrel.
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Oil futures hit a six-week high on Tuesday, rising for a fifth day on optimism that OPEC and other countries may agree to extend production cuts in a bid to support prices.

Brent was up 26 cents, or 0.4%, at $62.85 a barrel by 0349 GMT, while U.S. crude was 27 cents, or 0.5%, higher at $58.12 a barrel. Brent touched its highest since Aug. 1, while U.S. crude rose to the highest since July 31.

U.S. oil gained more than 2% on Monday, while Brent finished the day 1.7% higher as the market reacted to the appointment by Saudi Arabia’s king of his son, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, as energy minister on Sunday.

Prince Abdulaziz, a long-time member of the Saudi delegation to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said the pillars of Saudi Arabia’s policy would not change and a global deal to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day would be maintained.

He added that the so-called OPEC+ alliance, made up of OPEC and non-OPEC countries including Russia, would be in place for the long term.

A meeting of OPEC and OPEC+ countries in Abu Dhabi this week “is stirring up hopes for additional supply cuts,” said Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader.

Still, Russia’s oil output in August exceeded its quota under the OPEC+ agreements.

“Markets will need to see concrete progress on the production front, even as the world’s economy slows, to sustain gains,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Should oil end Tuesday higher it will be the longest run of gains since late July but headwinds remain as the U.S.-China trade war rumbles on.

Executives at the annual Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference said on Monday they expect oil prices this year to be pressured by uncertainties surrounding the global economy, the U.S.-China trade war and increasing U.S. supplies.

In the United States, crude stockpiles are likely to have fallen for a fourth consecutive week last week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday.

Five analysts polled by Reuters estimated, on average, that crude inventories fell 2.6 million barrels in the week to Sept 6.

Oil prices recover some ground, but economic concerns weigh

CNBC

Reuters
KEY POINTS
  • Brent crude was up 12 cents, or 0.21%, at $58.38 a barrel by 0425 GMT.
  • U.S. West Texas Intermediate gained 20 cents, or 0.37%, at $54.14 at barrel.
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Oil prices recovered some ground on Wednesday after touching their lowest in close to a month during the previous session on concerns that a weakening global economy could depress demand.

Brent crude was up 12 cents, or 0.21%, at $58.38 a barrel by 0425 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate gained 20 cents, or 0.37%, at $54.14 at barrel.

Oil prices sunk to a nearly one-month low on Tuesday following data that showed U.S. manufacturing activity in August contracted for the first time in three years and euro zone manufacturing activity contracted for a seventh month in August.

But global markets bounced on Wednesday after a private survey showed that activity in China’s services sector expanded at the fastest pace in three months in August as new orders rose, prompting the biggest increase in hiring in over a year.

China is the world’s second-largest oil consumer and largest importer.

“Given the tumble that we saw overnight it’s probably people locking in gains on shorts or perhaps establishing new longs in anticipation we might get an announcement from Beijing (on setting a date for trade talks with the United States),” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

A short position is when an investor sells futures in expectations of falling prices while a long position is when one buys futures to profit from rising prices.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned he would be “tougher” on Beijing in a second term if trade talks dragged on, compounding market fears that ongoing trade disputes between the United States and China could trigger a U.S. recession.

“Market participants are becoming increasingly worried about recession risk,” said Stephen Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader.

“Moreover, given that tariffs present a significant threat to U.S. growth and in turn, the health of the global economy, oil prices will remain under pressure especially if trade and tariff war shows no sign of abating.”

Data due this week on U.S. inventory levels will be delayed by a day to Wednesday and Thursday because of the U.S. Labor Day holiday on Monday.

U.S. crude oil stockpiles likely declined for a third straight week, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Tuesday.

On the supply side, Venezuela’s oil exports fell in August to their lowest level in 2019, internal reports and Refinitiv Eikon data showed, following tougher U.S. sanctions.

Oil prices pegged back by mounting concern over US economy

CNBC

Reuters
KEY POINTS
  • Brent crude was down 30 cents, or 0.5%, at $60.19 a barrel by 0202 GMT.
  • U.S. crude was down 15 cents, or 0.3%, at $55.63 a barrel.
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A worker walks atop a tanker wagon to check the freight level at an oil terminal on the outskirts of Kolkata.
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Oil prices fell on Thursday for the first time in three days after San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly sounded a note of concern about the strength of U.S. economy.

Brent crude was down 30 cents, or 0.5%, at $60.19 a barrel by 0202 GMT while U.S. crude was down 15 cents, or 0.3%, at $55.63 a barrel. Oil prices rose around 1.5 percent in the previous session.

Concerns about a slowdown in economic growth due to the trade war raging between the United States and China, along with the potential hit to oil demand, are keeping prices in check.

Daly said on Thursday she believes the U.S. economy has “strong” momentum, but uncertainty and a global growth slowdown are having an impact.

Daly was speaking to reporters after a speech in Wellington, New Zealand and said she was in “watch and see” mode in assessing the need for another U.S. interest-rate cut.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he believed China was sincere about wanting to reach a trade deal, but concerns arose on Tuesday after China’s foreign ministry declined to confirm a telephone call between the two countries on trade.

“Trade tensions (are) hanging like a dark cloud threatening to rain over oil prices,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

The market shrugged of a big drop in U.S. inventories, which fell last week by 10 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations for a decrease of 2.1 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration said.

U.S. gasoline stocks fell by 2.1 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 388,000-barrel drop.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 2.1 million barrels, versus expectations for a 918,000-barrel increase, the EIA data showed.

The crude draw down confirms “that OPEC supply cuts are effectively working by depleting U.S. reserves,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Valour Markets.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other producers have been restraining supply for most of the period since Jan. 1, 2017. The alliance, known as “OPEC+”, in July renewed the pact until March 2020.

U.S. weekly crude production also rose 200,000 barrels per day to a new record at 12.5 million bpd in the week to Aug. 23.

Oil rises as drop in US inventories eases recession worries

CNBC

Reuters
KEY POINTS
  • Brent crude was up by 37 cents, or 0.6%, at $59.88 a barrel by 0220 GMT.
  • West Texas intermediate crude was up 55 cents, or 1.0%, at $55.48 a barrel.
  • U.S. crude stockpiles fell sharply last week as imports dropped, plummeting by 11.1 million barrels, compared with expectations for a 2 million barrel draw, data from industry group, the American Petroleum Institute (API), showed.
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Oil prices rose on Wednesday, with U.S. crude gaining 1% after an inventory report showed U.S. stockpiles fell more than expected, helping ease worries about economic growth due to the Sino-U.S. trade war.

Brent crude was up by 37 cents, or 0.6%, at $59.88 a barrel by 0220 GMT. West Texas intermediate crude was up 55 cents, or 1.0%, at $55.48 a barrel.

U.S. crude stockpiles fell sharply last week as imports dropped, plummeting by 11.1 million barrels, compared with expectations for a 2 million barrel draw, data from industry group, the American Petroleum Institute (API), showed.

The U.S. government’s weekly report is due to be released Wednesday morning and if official numbers confirm the API data then it will be the biggest weekly decline in nine weeks.

“The mammoth crude inventory draw has, at least for the time being, put to rest those U.S. recessionary doom and gloom fears that have been hanging over oil markets like a dark cloud,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Valour Markets.

Still, concerns about global growth amid the raging trade war between the United States and China are likely to cap gains.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that he believed China was sincere about wanting to reach a deal, while Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said China was willing to resolve the dispute through “calm” negotiations.

On Tuesday, however, concerns about trade resurfaced after China’s foreign ministry that it had not heard of any recent telephone call between the United States and China on trade, and said it hopes Washington can stop its wrong actions and create conditions for talks.

Crude oil prices have fallen about 20% from 2019 highs reached in April, partly because of worries that the U.S.-China trade war is hurting the global economy, which could dent demand for oil.

“Global recession risks are higher than at any stage since the (global financial crisis) and the U.S. is not immune,” Morgan Stanley said.

China’s Commerce Ministry last week said it would impose additional tariffs of 5% or 10% on 5,078 products originating from the United States, including crude oil, agricultural products and small aircraft.

In retaliation, Trump said he was ordering U.S. companies to look at ways to close operations in China and make products in the United States.