Stock market turmoil extends to crude prices

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The U.S. exported about 700,000 barrels of light domestic crude in December to the U.A.E., the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

Profit-booking at existing levels too weighed on crude prices. However, crude imports in the country have fallen after the recent rise in the production and inventories last week.

The US oil price benchmark, West Texas Intermediate crude, is now watched closely worldwide by foreign customers of US gasoline, diesel and crude.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.

But a combination of factors, including global economic growth, continued weakness in the dollar, the ability of OPEC to keep production curbs in place and restraint on the part of U.S. shale producers has helped lift WTI over the US$65 mark and convince investors the higher prices are now sustainable.

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On Wednesday U.S. equity futures fell and the dollar rose.

Domestic crude production hit 10.25 million barrels for the most recent week, which would exceed the all-time USA monthly record of 10.044 million barrels a day, set in 1970. That compares with a forecast of nationwide inventories rising by 3.15 million barrels in a Bloomberg survey. "The ability of crude oil inventories to rise in the face of a snap back higher in refinery utilization was particularly bearish". IEA data shows that OECD stocks fell of 600,000 bpd in the last three quarters of 2017, the largest since 1984.

Saudi Arabia's oil production increased by 60,000 bpd to 10.10 million bpd, though still less than the amount agreed in the OPEC agreement.

In other news, earlier in the week, the EIA forecast USA production will average 10.6 million barrels a day this year, enough to continue surpassing output from Saudi Arabia, until recently the world's second-biggest producer. In 2017, China's teapots reportedly imported around about 70.5 million tonnes (1.41 million bpd) of crude, up from 42.1 million tonnes (842,000 bpd) the previous year. On the other hand, over the first ten months of this fiscal year, Iran's oil and condensate production already rose by 165,000 bpd, also according to the minister.

Meanwhile, commodity pricing group S&P Global Platts said it expects data to show crude oil stocks in the United States increased 2.8 million barrels and gasoline rose 200,000 barrels. While shale producers in the United States essentially require oil prices to remain at around the $50-per-barrel region to cover their production costs and the high-yield bonds used for financing, OPEC will do all it can to ensure that oil prices are tightly balanced, thereby discouraging additional entrants into the market, as they have already seen their market share dwindle in the wake of USA crude-oil producers.