Oil Prices Steady After Sharp Fall

A man pumps gas into his car at a gas station in Caracas

A man pumps gas into his car at a gas station in Caracas Venezuela

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report Wednesday morning, showing that U.S. commercial crude inventories decreased by 1.4 million barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory of 407.4 million barrels.

Some analysts said that global crude supply losses could range from 600,000 to 1.5 million barrels per day due to the re-imposition of USA sanctions on Iran.

Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, rose by 1.2 million barrels, versus expectations for a 220,000 barrels increase, the EIA data showed.

Brent crude futures were up 14 cents at $72.42 barrel by 0855 GMT, after having dropped by more than 3 percent on Wednesday.

Europe-which as a whole has been Iran's third-biggest single customer-saw imports drop to 465,450 bpd last month from 485,768 bpd in June, with demand from France, Spain, and Turkey down and purchases from Italy and Greece steadily up.

The Foreign Ministry of China stated on Wednesday that China vehemently opposes the unilateral sanctions from the USA on Iran.

It is expecting the first VLCC to be delivered to Vadinar in Gujarat in November and a second cargo at Mundra in the same state in December.

"The impact of it is the greatest known unknown of the year". Vladimir Putin stated on Tuesday that he is deeply disappointed by the United States sanctions on Iran.

The EU, France, the United Kingdom and Germany said in a joint statement on Monday that they were committed to work on the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas. U.S.net imports increased by 1.35 million barrels per day during that week. U.S.net imports of crude oil is a very important value for the oil price movements.

Front-month Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were down 38 cents on the day at $74.27 a barrel by 1227 GMT, while USA crude futures CLc1 were down 67 cents at $68.50 a barrel. At the end of the week, WTI settled at 68.49 USA dollars, while Brent settled at 73.21 dollars.

Analysts at Capital Economics said Gulf economies are likely to raise oil output further over the rest of the year under the revised Opec deal, in part, to offset the impact of lower Iranian output. The agency had previously expected crude output to average more than 12 million bpd by the fourth quarter of 2019, but revised that quarterly average downward to 11.94 million bpd. Exports of refined products rose by 174,000 barrels a day last week to 5.2 million.

Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent to 22,584.18 while South Korea's Kospi inched down 0.2 percent to 2,297.62.

Here is a look at how share prices for two blue-chip stocks and two exchange-traded funds reacted to this latest report.

The sudden popularity of the December contract versus November or October may have its roots in the traditional preference for Chinese commodity speculators to trade futures on a quarterly basis rather than monthly, according to Xue.

Brent's April to May trading range is $65.29 to $79.37.

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