Crude Oil Price Falls Away From Late-2014 Highs

Crude Oil Price Falls Away From Late-2014 Highs

Cheryl Sanders
April 26, 2018

An oil pump is seen at sunset outside Vaudoy-en-Brie, near Paris, France April 23, 2018. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 14 cents, or 0.2 percent, at $67.84 per barrel. While earlier news headlines suggested that French President Macron's pitch to Trump had some possibility of success, this is looking less likely today.

The market was also supported by concerns around oil output from Venezuela.

USA oil major Chevron Corp has evacuated executives from Venezuela after two of its workers were imprisoned over a contract dispute with state-owned oil company PDVSA.

Data from the Energy Information Administration initially took traders by surprise, showing a US crude stockpile build of 2.17 million barrels last week, larger than the 1.1-million-barrel increase reported by the American Petroleum Institute.

Brent crude oil futures were at 74.42 per barrel at 0135 GMT, up 42 cents, or 0.6 percent, from their last close.

Meanwhile, weekly USA crude oil production rose to almost 10.6 million barrels a day, surging by more than a quarter since mid-2016, said the EIA.

Supplier cutbacks, steady demand growth, geopolitical tensions and a favorable structure in the futures market have attracted record investment in oil this year.

"The prospect of a downside correction in prices is lost on the speculative fraternity".

"The market is being led down by gasoline as inventories rose due to an extraordinary high level of imports and that is weighing on crude oil prices", said Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

"However, given the already vast holdings of long positions in oil, there are doubts over the scope for further inflows".

Because of the tighter market, the forward curve for Brent is now above $70 per barrel until the end of 2018, and prices are above $60 per barrel through 2020.

But the rise in Treasury yields above 3 percent has driven the USA dollar.DXY to three-month highs, which may pose a threat to a more pronounced rally in crude.

Data released by the US Energy Information Administration Wednesday showed that US crude oil stocks had posted a build of 2.17 million barrels to 429.737 million for the week ended April 20. "It did not cut purchases during the time of sanctions even though the United States put a lot of pressures on New Delhi to do so", Tasnim news agency quoted the Iranian oil ministry as saying on Wednesday.

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