Oil sinks toward $60 as inventory, production gains weigh


If Trump walks away from the Iran nuclear deal on May 12 (the date of the next USA sanctions waiver), crude oil prices are likely to rise as global supply falls. The Energy Department releases its USA inventories data later this morning.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration report on oil inventories is due to be released on Wednesday at 10:30a.m. EST. Prices seesawed on Tuesday after President Donald Trump fired Tillerson, whom he had disagreements with over key foreign policy issues.

According to OPEC, "the most recent trade-related developments may provide challenges to the growth momentum as global trade has been an important factor contributing to the world economy".

Moody's Investors Service has raised its medium-term price band for crude oil to US$45-US$65 per barrel from US$40-US$60 per bbl, as continued Opec-led production restraint and strong global demand growth contribute to declining global inventories, offsetting rapid increases in U.S. shale production.

Brent crude oil futures were last up 2 cents at $64.66 a barrel by 2:10pm GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate futures were up 11 cents at $60.82 a barrel.

Despite this, general market conditions remain weak, and crude prices have not managed to return to their early 2018 highs of over $70 per barrel for Brent and nearly $67 a barrel for WTI.

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also said oil inventories across the most industrialized countries rose in January for the first time in eight months, a sign the impact of its output cuts may be waning. "We continue to just chop around here", said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy.

This week, the API reported a smaller build for crude oil, and another draw for gasoline. Analysts had forecast a smaller decline of 1.519 million barrels.

Moody's said oil prices have firmed since OPEC's November 2016 agreement to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), while non-OPEC members, led by Russian Federation, agreed to cut production by 558,000 bpd.

Looking at crude oil prices today, both WTI and Brent are now trading sideways.

It expects strong oil demand growth and high OPEC compliance to push inventories further below the five-year average in the third quarter.

In a dose of support for oil bulls, the data showed crude production fell 1.9%.