Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Oil prices climb on mixed USA inventories data

Oil prices climb on mixed USA inventories data

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $60.76 a barrel at 0430 GMT, up 5 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their previous close.

Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were up 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, to settle at $64.89 per barrel.

"We are now only two to four weeks away from when weekly oil inventory data will start to draw again which should be supportive for oil prices", SEB commodities strategist Bjarne Schieldrop said.

"Oil prices moved lower. after (the) Energy Information Administration published a report that crude production from seven major USA shale plays is expected to see a climb", said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore. This week, the API reported a draw of 1.262 million in gasoline stockpiles, largely in line with the 1.176-million-barrel draw that analysts had expected.

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On Monday, the EIA said production from major US shale formations should rise by 131,000 barrels per day in April vs. the previous month to an all-time high of 6.95 million bpd.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for April delivery was up 0.25 USA dollar to settle at 60.96 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for May delivery added 0.25 dollar to close at 64.89 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange. At the same time, crude throughput rose 7.3 percent to 93.4 million tonnes, implying a need for more imports.

That "caught the market by surprise", said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group.

As a result, crude prices have not returned to their January highs of over $70 per barrel for Brent and nearly $67 for WTI.

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ GRAPHIC: Russia vs Saudi vs US oil production GRAPHIC: World oil supply and demand balance ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^. And the American shale industry is continuing to push oil output to record levels. As the IEA noted in February, "In just three months to November, (U.S.) crude output increased by a colossal 846,000 bpd and will soon overtake that of Saudi Arabia".

The increases in US production has this year exceeded the supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which have been in place since 2017 in an effort by the cartel, and supported by non-OPEC member Russian Federation, to prop up prices.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration report on oil inventories is due to be released on Wednesday at 10:30a.m. EST.

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