Oil price slides as figures show a surprise build in United States stocks

18 October, 2018, 06:34 | Author: Dave Hampton
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Oil prices extended gains into a fourth session on Wednesday, buoyed as industry data showed a surprise decline in USA crude inventories and as geopolitical tensions over the disappearance of a prominent Saudi journalist stoked supply worries.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 35 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $72.27 a barrel by 0007 GMT on Wednesday, having settled up 14 cents. The global benchmark, which hit a two-week low late last week as equity markets dropped, is trading around $5 below a four-year high of $86.74 reached on October 3.

U.S. President Donald Trump can not bring oil prices down by "bullying" other nations, Iran's oil minister said on Tuesday, adding that the market was suffering from short supply.

That build in reported USA oil stocks, by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), came as a surprise following reports of a draw, by the American Petroleum Institute (API).

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Venezuela and Libya also present geopolitical risks to global oil supply, and even Saudi Arabia's promise to increase its own production to make up for the shortfall hasn't soothed investors, according to Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas. Deliveries of Saudi crude to the Port Arthur refinery, the largest in the USA, have accounted for almost 28 percent of Saudi barrels to the US this year, up from 20 percent in 2017.

Separately, there are fears that major oil producer, Saudi Arabia, could raise the price of its oil, if it faces any sanctions for the disappearance of the prominent journalist.

Trump has urged the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to raise output to help cover a shortfall due to new US sanctions on Iran.

Pradhan said oil cartel OPEC has to ensure market stability that is beneficial to both consuming and producing countries.

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"America thinks Saudi Arabia can replace this oil". Discussions between the gulf states to restart production at two oil fields in the neutral zone have broken down, with sovereignty reportedly an issue, according to S&P Global Platts.

USA sanctions on Iranian oil exports are due to kick in on November 4, while Iran has accused Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation of breaking an OPEC-led agreement on output cuts by producing more crude.

The breakdown of the talks is equivalent to the Saudis and Kuwaitis agreeing to cut production by 500,000 barrels a day, said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group.

However, it's always worth looking at what is happening in the real world of physical oil flows and pricing, as this can often tell a somewhat different narrative to what is driving the paper market.

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The EIA report on Wednesday showed that crude stockpiles rose 6.49 MMbl last week, while inventories at the Cushing, Okla., complex climbed by 1.78 MMbl.


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