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Oil Rebounds Though Outlook Remains Clouded by Oversupply


By Ann Koh and Grant Smith

(Bloomberg) Oil rebounded from the previous session’s loss, though the outlook remained clouded by rising U.S. stockpiles and concern that OPEC and its allies aren’t taking enough action to balance the market.Futures added 0.1% to trade near $59 a barrel in New York. American gasoline inventories surged the most since January as demand slumped to a three-year low, and crude stockpiles unexpectedly increased, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Deeper production cutbacks announced by OPEC and its partners last week won’t prevent a surplus in early 2020, the International Energy Agency said.

U.S. motor fuel inventories climb the most since January

U.S. crude inventories have swelled above their five-year average as surging shale output drives nationwide production to record levels. Focus now shifts to trade ahead of a Sunday deadline for the imposition of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. Last week, the 24 producers in the OPEC+ coalition — led by Saudi Arabia and Russia — agreed a package of cutbacks amounting to 2.1 million barrels a day.

“A week ago, OPEC surprised with less oil than expected,” said Olivier Jakob, managing director at consultants Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland. “A week later the DOE counters with more oil than expected.”

West Texas Intermediate for January delivery rose 6 cents to $58.82 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 8:18 a.m. local time. The contract lost 48 cents to close at $58.76 on Wednesday, slipping from the highest level since Sept. 17.

See also: The Wall Street Bankers Who Burst Aramco’s $2 Trillion Bubble

Brent for February settlement rose 29 cents, or 0.5%, to $64.01 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The contract fell 1% to close at $63.72 on Wednesday. The global benchmark crude traded at a $5.23 premium to WTI for the same month.

U.S. crude stockpiles unexpectedly increased by 822,000 barrels last week, climbing for sixth time in seven weeks, the EIA said. Gasoline inventories expanded by 5.4 million barrels last week, more than double the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey before the EIA data. Petroleum products supplied, an indicator of demand, dropped to 18.4 million barrels a day, the lowest level since December 2016.

Other oil-market news:
  • Saudi Aramco jumped again in its second day of trading, pushing the oil giant’s value beyond the $2 trillion mark sought by the kingdom’s Crown Prince.
  • Chevron Corp. is close to approving the development of its Anchor oil project in the Gulf of Mexico, according to people familiar with the matter. The deposit is located about 140 miles (225 kilometers) off the coast of Louisiana and was discovered in 2014.
  • Shippers have fewer than three weeks until new rules kick in forcing them to burn cleaner fuels, but the regulations are already redefining key trade routes in the global oil-product markets.
  • Sporadic clashes erupted in the capital of OPEC member Algeria as authorities pressed on with a tightly-controlled presidential election.


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