U.S. crude oil inventories decrease in past week

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Even after crude was propped up in February by rising geopolitical risks surrounding the U.S. and Middle East producer Iran, it's still struggling to recover to the highs of January, with concerns over a global trade war also weighing on prices.

The West Texas Intermediate for May delivery fell 0.14 USA dollar to settle at 63.37 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for June delivery lost 0.10 dollar to close at 68.02 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

"Investors took their cue from falling U.S drilling counts", Wang Xiao, head of crude oil research with Guotai Junan Futures said. In addition, the pressure on trade is also exerting tension on the trade dispute between the United States and China. It was the first time in three weeks that the rig-count fell.

While oil rebounded over 5% last month on rising geopolitical risk surrounding the U.S. and OPEC producer Iran, a rapid increase in American production - which has topped 10 million barrels a day for eight straight weeks - has placed a lid on prices.

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Brent for June settlement lost $1.11 to $67.01 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, after adding 48 cents on Tuesday. Total volume traded was 12 above the 100-day average. The global benchmark crude traded at a US$4.70 premium to June WTI. The September delivery contract closed 0.9% lower on Monday after debuting last week.

Despite worldwide objections, the US administration made a decision to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum, with tariffs on imports from countries including China.

Despite a surprise crude oil inventory draw that the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday, oil prices fell by 2 percent early on Wednesday as the trade war between the United States and China continues to escalate and to weigh on both oil and equities.

The extent to which US production increases counterbalances output cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will be critical, said Gene McGillian, manager of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

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