Crude Oil Mostly Steady In Asia After API Estimates, Risks Monitored

Crude Oil Mostly Steady In Asia After API Estimates, Risks Monitored

According to the source, the price for January Futures WTI oil increased by 0,19%, totalling to $57,58 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).

Traders said prices fell after an American Petroleum Institute (API) report late on Tuesday that showed a 9.2 million barrel rise in gasoline stocks in the week ended December 1, and an increase of 4.3 million barrels in distillate inventories, which include motor diesel and heating oil.

Brent crude futures ended down 2.6 percent, or $1.64 a barrel to $61.22, for its lowest close since November 2.

US crude stockpiles probably declined by 2.5 million barrels last week, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report scheduled to be released on Wednesday.

The API report was also said to find that crude inventories slid by 5.48 million barrels last week and supplies at the key Cushing, Oklahoma, pipeline hub declined by 1.95 million barrels, the people said. Traders were looking for a draw of about 3.5 million barrels.

Oil finished lower on Wednesday, as a weekly jump in USA gasoline stockpiles that was more than twice what the market expected pulled crude futures to their lowest level since mid-November and gasoline futures to their lowest settlement in about seven weeks. The S&P Global Platts survey forecast a supply rise of 2.7 million barrels for gasoline and an increase of 1.5 million barrels for distillates.

Gasoline stocks tend to build in December, but at 221 million barrels of inventory, stocks are slightly above the five-year average for this time of year.

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Gasoline for January fell 3.4% at $1.661 a gallon, with the settlement the lowest since October 19. The United States added six rigs, four natural gas-directed and two oil-directed to finish the week at 929 active units, as against 597 a year ago.

Refiners "actually beat demand with [gasoline] production at a near record 9.758 million barrels a day, compared to daily demand of 8.895 million barrels a day last week", said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group.

On paper the report was mixed with the crude oil number bullish and the fuel numbers bearish.

US crude production rose to 9.7 million barrels per day, another weekly record, though short of all-time records reached in the 1970s.

"If you extend the production-cut agreement through the end of 2018, that surplus will basically erode away, which will be a good thing for oil prices in the long-term", Rob Thummel, managing director at Tortoise Capital Advisors LLC, which handles $16 billion in energy-related assets, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. An extension had been largely priced in but rising US oil production has been a key concern for the market.

"But a weaker economic performance and a decline in refinery capacity utilization in the first quarter could be a drag on oil demand and dampen prices", said Georgi Slavov, the head of research at commodity broker Marex Spectron.

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