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21 April 2017, 03:15 | Kelvin Horton
WTI oil prices fell by 3.8% on Nymex Wednesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-steadies-as-investors-await-eia-inventory-report-2017-04-19), marking the steepest drop since March 8.
Global fuel stocks are well above the five-year average, and Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih was quoted on Thursday as saying inventories remained elevated in part because traders were selling supplies out of tanker storage.
According to a U.S. Energy Information Administration report, U.S. crude supplies fell 1 million barrels in the most recent week, a smaller decline than expected.
Brent futures were up 10 cents to $53.03 a barrel were at 1:28 p.m. EDT (1728 GMT). The decline was mainly due to the surprise build in US gasoline stockpiles that point to weaker-than-expected demand at a time when consumption of gasoline usually rises.
Iran will probably be allowed to keep its oil production unchanged if OPEC decides to extend its six-month agreement on output cuts beyond June, Kuwaiti Oil Minister Issam Almarzooq said, adding that the Persian Gulf OPEC member has shown strong compliance with the OPEC supply cut deal.
The fall in oil prices was, however, given some support by a report indicating that there was a decline in output in Saudi Arabia.
U.S. Oil prices were down almost 4% through the afternoon on Wednesday and now hover just above the $50 a barrel mark. That surprise build in gasoline, along with an increase in US production, pressured prices. Gasoline stocks posted a counter-seasonal build of 1.5 million barrels, despite heavier refining activity.The surprise gasoline build, along with an increase in USA production and imports from OPEC nations, pressured prices.
Thirteen members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and 11 non-OPEC members agreed to cut production by about 1.8 million barrels a day to prop up oil prices in December previous year.
"Rising oil output in the USA remains the predominant bearish factor for prices despite growing anticipation that OPEC will extend a self-imposed cap on its oil production in the upcoming May meeting", Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy Global Gas Analytics said recently. Distillate stocks reached their lowest levels since November 2015, the EIA said.
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