Oil continues slide on US crude stockpiles surge

23 Mai, 2019, 14:08 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • An oil well pump jack is seen at an oil field supply yard near Denver

Oil futures tumbled more than 2% on Wednesday as an unexpected build in USA crude stockpiles compounded investor worries that a prolonged trade fight between Washington and Beijing could dent crude demand. "At the same time, downside risk to supply is materialising in key countries (adding to OPEC's production cuts)", the USA bank said.

"It's at the extreme end of the range of possibilities for a bearish report", said Bob Yawger, director of futures at Mizuho in NY.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down by 31 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $61.11 per barrel.

Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil prices, were at $69.77 per barrel at 1016 GMT, down $1.22 from their last close.

"Buying pressures are sandwiched between mounting geopolitical disruption risks in the Middle East and jitters over the fallout from the intensifying US-China trade dispute", PVM's Stephen Brennock said in a note. "Even a modest bout of profit-taking could quickly cascade into a selling frenzy".

US crude oil inventories rose last week, hitting their highest levels since July 2017, the government's Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. No further talks between top officials have been scheduled since the last round ended in a stalemate on May 10.

World shares made it four days in the red in the last five as concerns grew the China-U.S. trade conflict was fast turning into a technology cold war between the world's two largest economies. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expected a fall of 2 million barrels, on average.

Because of the cuts, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said crude output by OPEC and its allies fell by 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd) between November 2018 and April 2019.

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Washington is at least a month from enacting its proposed tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports as it studies the impact on consumers.

Oil prices have declined due to a projected increase in United States crude stockpiles and as Saudi Arabia committed to keep markets balanced.

Beyond market fundamentals, oil traders are looking to the tensions between the United States and Iran.

Saudi Arabia is the de-facto leader of OPEC.

Oil prices dropped on Thursday, extending falls from the previous session amid surging US crude inventories as low refinery runs and ongoing trade tensions weighed on the demand outlook.

The physical oil market is also showing signs of tightness.

Qatar Petroleum has sold al-Shaheen July delivery crude at the highest average premium since 2013 on robust demand for medium-heavy grades in Asia, trade sources said.

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