U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures are trading slightly lower early Friday after posting three straight days of gains. Even with the small setback, the market is set to finish the week nearly 2 percent higher.
Just about all of the news has been bullish this week. Helping to support prices was a bullish U.S. Energy Information Administration’s weekly inventories report, Saudi Arabia’s halt on transporting crude through a key shipping lane, and the easing of trade tensions between the United States and European Union.
U.S. Energy Information Administration Weekly Inventories Report
Official U.S. data showed U.S. crude oil inventories last week declined more than expected to their lowest level since 2015 as exports climbed and stocks at the Cushing futures hub dropped.
Crude inventories fell 6.1 million barrels in the week-ending July 20, versus analyst expectations for a decrease of 2.3 million barrels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.
At 404.9 million barrels, inventories, not including the nation’s emergency petroleum reserve, were at their lowest level since February 2015.
Saudi Arabia Temporarily Halts Shipments
According to reports, Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, said on Thursday that it was “temporarily halting” all oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea lane of Bab al-Mandeb after an attack on two big oil tankers by Yemen’s…