U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil managed to eke-out a small gain for the holiday-shortened week, but the volatile, two-sided price action indicated cracks may be developing in the bullish narrative.
Crude Oil Gains Limited
The news tended to lean to the bullish side late in the week with the markets underpinned by a drop in crude shipments from top exporter Saudi Arabia and a draw in U.S. oil inventories. Gains may have been limited by a stronger U.S. Dollar which tends to limit foreign demand for U.S. oil, and weaker U.S. equities which reduced demand for higher risk assets.
Supply Side News Mostly Supportive
Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports fell by 277,000 barrels per day just under 7 million bpd in February from the month before, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative.
On Wednesday, the EIA reported that U.S. crude inventories fell by 1.4 million barrels in the week-ending April 12. Traders were looking for a 1.6 million barrel build. Gasoline stockpiles fell 1.2 million barrels during the same time period, while distillate fuel inventories fell by 362,000 barrels.
The EIA also reported a gasoline production rate of 9.9 million barrels daily last week and a distillate…