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Oil steady as expected output pact extension offsets United States supply

18 November, 2017, 00:29 | Author: Samuel Sharp
  • People walk past an electronic stock board showing Japan’s Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm in Tokyo. – AP

On Wednesday the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said that domestic crude inventories rose for a second week in a row, building by 1.9 million barrels in the week to November 10 to 459 million barrels.

The recent gains recorded by global oil prices have slipped as the commodity has lost more than $2 in seven days.

Both WTI and Brent benchmarks were down significantly on Tuesday prior to the API release-almost $2 per barrel under last week figures, as bearish news from the IEA emerged that suggested the oil market isn't quite as healthy as some may believe.

Gasoline inventories - one of the products that crude is refined into - rose by 894,000 barrels, confounding expectations for a draw of 919,000 barrels while supplies of distillate - the class of fuels that includes diesel and - fell by about 799,000 barrels, less than the expected decline of 1.3 million barrels.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures gained 0.2 percent to $62.04 per barrel, adding $0.15 more to its last close of $61.87.

Oil prices edged lower on Thursday as rising U.S. production and inventories threatened to undermine a rally sparked by tightening world supply as a effect of OPEC's curbs on output.


Crude imports were up 261,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 7.9 million bpd last week, seeing that exports rose 260,000 bpd to 1.1 million bpd.

OPEC, along with several other major producers including Russian Federation, first agreed a year ago to reduce production by 1.8 million barrels a day from peak October 2016 levels, with the aim of alleviating global oversupply and boosting prices.

The agreement is set to end in March 2018, but OPEC will be discussing policy during a meeting on November 30, and is expected to continue constraining output. The IEA revised downward its forecast for oil demand in 2017 by 50,000 bpd and in 2018 by 190,000 bpd. That could mean world oil consumption may not breach 100 million bpd next year as many had expected.

Despite the three day consolidation, I think there is enough downside momentum to drive January WTI crude oil into its value zone at $54.62 to $53.78 and February Brent into $60.36 to $59.40. Stockpiles of gasoline also surprisingly rose.

Crude has climbed lately to a two-year high around $57 USA a barrel in trading in NY, although it is not seen making much larger gains due to rising U.S. output.

-Christopher Alessi contributed to this article.

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