Wednesday, March 10, 2021

US Crude Holds Steady Despite 14 Million-Barrel Supply Build

US crude oil futures are retesting $65 in the middle of the trading week. The weekly US government supply build and optimism for the global economic recovery came into focus for energy commodities. As Brent prices home in on $70, will US oil prices hit $70 this year, too? The consensus on Wall Street that it is an inevitability at this point.

April West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $0.32, or 0.5%, to $64.33 per barrel at 14:41 GMT on Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. US crude prices have surged more than 5% over the last week, adding to their year-to-date rally of 33%.

Brent, the international benchmark for oil prices, topped $68. May Brent crude futures advanced $0.52, or 0.77%, to $68.04 per barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic crude supplies surged 13.798 million barrels in the week ending March 5, coming in a lot higher than the median estimate of 816,000 barrels. This marked the third consecutive week that US inventories have increased. Last week, US stocks spiked 21.563 million barrels.

Stockpiles at the Cushing, Oklahoma storage facility rose 526,000 barrels. Distillate inventories plunged 5.504 million barrels, while gasoline supplies plummeted 11.869 million barrels.

On Tuesday, the EIA stated that domestic crude production declined by 8%, or close to one million barrels per day (bpd), in 2020. In total, oil output averaged 11.3 million bpd last year, compared to the 2019 record high annual average of 12.2 million bpd.

In a recent statement, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud confirmed that Saudi Arabia and Russia would continue to their cooperation with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, OPEC+. Last week, the global cartel completed its March meeting, which saw the group sustain its production cuts heading into April, as well as Riyadh pledging to voluntarily slash output by one million barrels per day (bpd).

Standard Chartered was blunt in its latest research note:

In our view, the March 4 OPEC+ meeting has not just left the door to higher prices open, it has taken that door off its hinges and chopped it up for firewood.

Global crude markets were also pleased by the latest data highlighting greater oil imports from China and India. There is also optimism that Iranian supplies will soon normalize, although the impact this development would have on the broader energy industry remains to be seen.

Investors were also ebullient over a recent economic outlook from Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The report forecast that the economy would rebound 5.6% this year and 4% in 2022.

In other energy markets, April natural gas futures tumbled $0.017, or 0.63%, to $2.679 per million British thermal units (btu). April gasoline futures edged up by $0.0048, or 0.23%, to $2.055 a gallon. April heating oil futures jumped $0.0073, or 0.38%, to $1.9149 a gallon.

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Published under: Oil

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