USA crude oil inventories remain unchanged last week

USA crude oil inventories remain unchanged last week

"For the time being, the stock market and the oil market will echo each other", a South Korean commodities analyst told Reuters today.

Oil prices reached multi-year highs in early October but are now approaching their lowest levels for 18 months.

Both benchmarks posted third straight weekly declines, with Brent losing about 3 percent and WTI almost 0.4 percent. It looks like this time, the headwinds are stronger and a lot of positive economic data would be necessary to convince a anxious market the global economy will need more oil.

Brent for February settlement, which will expire Friday, slipped 10 cents to US$52.06 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange.

If Energy Information Administration data due Friday shows a similar move, it will be the fourth consecutive weekly decline in USA crude stockpiles. At 441.4 million barrels, USA crude oil inventories are about 7 percent above the five-year average for this time of year.

Meanwhile, U.S. crude inventories probably fell 3.25 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts. "Nonetheless, we viewed the data as price supportive with the exception of the 3 million barrel gasoline supply build". The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) releases its official report on Friday.

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Three months ago it looked as if the global oil market would be undersupplied through the northern hemisphere winter as USA sanctions removed large volumes of Iranian crude.

On Thursday, oil prices retreated, erasing gains in the previous session as concerns over global supply glut and faltering global economy lingered.

But the cuts won't take effect until next month and oil production has been at or near record highs in the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia, with the US pumping 11.6 million bpd of crude, more than both Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that Russia would cut its crude output by between 3 million and 5 million tonnes in the first half of 2019 as part of a deal between producers.

This morning, the oil prices fell yet again following a rally which saw the price of Brent crude rose by approximately eight percent last Wednesday. Inventories of gasoline added 3 million barrels at the end of the seven-day reporting period, and distillate fuel inventories staying unchanged.

Although US sanctions have put a cap on Iran's oil sales, Tehran has said its private exporters have "no problems" selling its oil.

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