Oil Falls Amid Rising U.S. Inventories

15 August, 2018, 20:56 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • Saudi Arabia reins in oil production as demand forecasts waver

Headed to 8-month lows of $ 65.72 amid weak fundamentals.

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In direct communications with OPEC, Saudi Arabia reported that its monthly crude production slipped by 201,000 bpd in July, meaning that it pumped 10.288 million bpd last month - lower than the 10.387 million bpd figure secondary sources compiled by OPEC show.

"Demand growth from Asia in general is being called into question". A first set of United States sanctions snapped back into place earlier this week, but in November it will seek to choke off Iranian oil exports.

Demand in 2019 is expected to continue growing, at an average of 1.5 Mmbpd.

Higher current Libyan output added to supply.

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"Libya is always trying to increase production, but can they maintain it?" said McGillian. Some of the new spending will push up output next year, he said. The supply disruptions that rattled the market earlier this summer have somewhat receded.

Crude oil prices are now slightly lower. The American Petroleum Institute (API) showed late-Tuesday that USA crude stocks rose by 3.7 million barrels in the week to August 10, to 410.8 million barrels.

Official U.S. oil inventory data was due to be published later on Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Distillate inventories added 3.6 million barrels last week, after a build of 1.2 million barrels in the prior week, with production averaging 5.3 million bpd, up by 100,000 bpd on the previous week.

Crude oil storage tanks are seen from above at the Cushing oil hub, in Cushing, Oklahoma, March 24, 2016.

USA refiners have been operating near peak capacity, especially in the Midwest, where refiners were at 99.4% of capacity the week ending August 3. But no major refinery maintenance is planned for US Gulf Coast refiners in the second half of this year.

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Typically, crude futures trade inversely to the greenback. But the trade war could undercut that scenario.

After snapping tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from a number of allies, the United States has been engaged in an escalating duel with China with levies being announced on a growing range of goods.

But exports to Japan and Singapore have picked up, while exports to the Middle East have been steady.

"China doesn't pay attention to the US sanctions on Iran", he said.

Northwest European refining margins are strong, and USA crudes are competitive. Despite the U.S. rig count being at a high for this year, the "production level has stalled, and that raises questions on whether or not there's capacity for the United States to increase production further - which is why we're seeing firmer markets".

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