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Oil Markets Ignore Growing Geopolitical Risk

The disappearance and alleged dismembering of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi by people connected to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has generated a lot of media buzz throughout the week, however markets were quite reluctant to react palpably. U.S. crude inventories, however, have put crude prices under significant pressure, having increased by a total of 20 million barrels within the past six weeks due to the autumn refinery maintenance season.

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Overall, crude fell to a one-month low after market sentiment cooled over Iranian supply loss fears but remained cautious about trade wars potentially limiting economic activity in 2019. There were some positive signs, such as China increasing its refinery throughput in September to a record-high 12.5 mbpd, but downward pressures hit the market harder as WTI ended the week trading around $69 per barrel, whilst Brent hovered around $79 per barrel.

1. US Crude Stockpiles Surge for Fourth Week in a Row

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- This week’s 6.5 million-barrel U.S. stock surge to 416.4 million barrels was all the more noteworthy for happening against the background of US Gulf of Mexico production shut-ins.
- Crude exports fell back to 1.8 mbpd, to a four-week rolling average of 2.2 mbpd, whilst net imports bounced back from last week’s lowpoint to 7.6 mbpd.
- U.S. gasoline stocks finally drew this week by 2 MMbbl to 234.2 MMbbl, but remain roughly 12 million barrels…




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