A plethora of factors contributed to crude moving up this week, with the EIA scaling back its US output estimate (cooling the bullish sentiment a bit), Saudi Aramco restating its firm commitment to keep the production curtailments as deep as the market conditions require, and most of all, the Venezuelan blackout blocked the exports capabilities of already sanctions-stricken PDVSA.
Tuesday’s trading environment was further buoyed by the American Petroleum Institute announcing a largely unexpected crude stock drop.
All in all, global benchmark Brent traded at around 67.3-67.5 USD per barrel on Wednesday afternoon, while WTI was drawing increasingly closer to 58 USD per barrel, having demonstrated an almost 2-percent growth on Wednesday. Should the current growth trend continue, both benchmarks would beat 4-month highs by the end of the week.
1. US Crude Inventories Bounce Back
- US commercial crude stocks rebounded robustly during the week ended March 01, increasing by 7.1 MMbbl to 452.9MMBbl.
- The inventory buildup was accompanied by a palpable decline in crude exports, by 0.6mbpd to 2.8mbpd, and an even more sizeable increase in crude imports to 7.0mbpd, up 1.1mbpd week-on-week.
- Refinery utilization seems to be edging higher for once, increasing 0.4 percent to 87.5 percent, with refinery input volumes higher by 0.1mbpd (at 16mbpd).
- Amid gasoline prices rising for the fifth consecutive week, gasoline stocks…