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Crude Oil Tops $56 As Weekly Supply Drawdown Higher Than Forecast

Crude oil futures are adding to their massive gains in the middle of the trading week, topping $56 for the first time in a year. Crude prices are finding support from the latest weekly US government inventory report and fiscal stimulus hopes. With countries worldwide rolling out their coronavirus vaccines, investors are optimistic that global demand will continue to increase in the months to come.

March West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures surged $1.03, or 1.88%, to $55.76 per barrel at 14:41 GMT on Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. US crude prices had topped $56 before the release of the government report. It has been a great beginning of 2021 for oil prices, with WTI contracts climbing more than 15% to start the year.

April Brent crude futures advanced $1.21, or 2.11%, to $58.67 per barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. Brent prices have been off to a roaring start in 2021, rallying more than 13% in the first few weeks of the calendar year.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic inventories declined 994,000 barrels for the week ending January 29. The market had penciled in an increase of 446,000 barrels.

Crude supplies at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage facility plunged 1.517 million barrels. Gasoline stocks soared 4.466 million barrels, while distillate inventories dipped by 9,000 barrels.

On Friday, Baker Hughes will release its latest number of oil and gas rigs in the US. The odds of the oil rig count topping 300 for the first time since the spring of last year are high since the recent reading jumped to 295.

Market analysts are monitoring the state of fiscal stimulus negotiations. Last month, President Joe Biden outlined a $1.9 trillion package. This week, Republicans countered with a $600 billion proposal. But with Democrats controlling the House and Senate, it is more than likely that Congress will move ahead with a $1.4 trillion spending bill.

Financial markets are seeing improvements in the US about the COVID-19 public health crisis. Since the start of 2021, new infections have been coming down, dropping from a seven-day average of more than 195,000 on January 1 to around 141,000 on February 2. In total, the US has reported 26.5 million cases, with a death toll of 447,000.

According to the Bloomberg COVID-19 vaccine tracker, 33.7 million doses have been given, averaging 1.32 million doses per day.

In other energy commodities, March natural gas futures tumbled $0.048, or 1.69%, to $2.797 per million British thermal units (btu). March gasoline futures picked up $0.0398, or 2.46%, to $1.6558 a gallon. March heating oil futures tacked on $0.0257, or 1.53%, to $1.7003 per gallon.

If you have any questions and comments on the commodities today, use the form below to reply.

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