Oil prices settle lower after U.S. crude stocks rise

16 November, 2017, 02:18 | Author: Manuel Hopkins
  • IEA cuts oil demand forecast

USA crude and gasoline stocks increased while distillate inventories fell, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

West Texas Intermediate for December delivery fell 37 cents to settle at US$55.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest close since Nov 2.

Growth is expected to accelerate to 1.4 million bpd in the last three months of this year, even though mild temperatures and rising prices will restrain demand, the IEA said.

West Texas Intermediate crude have both shed about $3 a barrel, or almost 5 percent, from more than two-year highs struck last week.

The U.S. benchmark slipped as much as 1.5 percent on Wednesday after Energy Information Administration data showed U.S. crude inventories rose by 1.85 million barrels last week and production climbed to a fresh record-high.

But on Tuesday, the International Energy Agency lowered its outlook for demand growth in both 2017 and 2018, in part because of warmer than expected winter weather.

The U.S. benchmark slipped 0.7 percent on Wednesday as Russian Federation believes it's too early to announce a possible extension at OPEC's meeting at the end of the month, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

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"Using a scenario whereby current levels of OPEC production are maintained, the oil market faces a hard challenge in 1Q18 with supply expected to exceed demand by 600,000 bpd followed by another, smaller, surplus of 200,000 bpd in 2Q18", the agency said.

Geopolitical tension in the Middle East and intermittent supply outages in the likes of Nigeria and Iraq have pushed oil above $60 a barrel for the first time since 2015, while global inventories have fallen, prompting many market watchers to raise their price forecasts.

U.S. oil and gas output is projected to surpass that of any other country in history, due to "a remarkable ability to unlock new resources cost-effectively".

This projected spike in U.S. oil production is also expected to reduce the country's dependence on oil imports, giving more business to American companies.

Global demand will struggle to sop up rising output by producers outside the 14-member OPEC cartel, particularly from the United States, IEA said in its monthly oil report. But analysts expect the price to not rise much further in coming months as the US ramps up production. The deal expires in March 2018 but OPEC will meet on November 30 to discuss policy, and it is expected to agree an extension of the cuts.

As welcome as these projections are for the U.S. oil and gas industry, they should be taken with a grain of salt, as renewable energy sources like solar continue to get more affordable.

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