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US Crude Rises As Weekly Supply Build Falls Short of Estimates

November 20, 2019 at 15:59 by Andrew Moran

Crude oil futures are rallying midweek after the US government reported a weekly supply build that fell short of market projections. Oil prices had kicked off Wednesday’s trading session in the red, extending their losses on the week. However, crude quickly pared its losses and has risen more than 1%.

January West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures surged $0.69, or 1.25%, to $55.90 per barrel at 14:42 GMT on Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Year-to-date, US crude has soared nearly 22%, but it has tumbled nearly 3% over the last week.

Brent, the international benchmark for oil prices, is also climbing higher in the middle of the trading week. January Brent crude futures soared $0.88, or 1.44%, to $61.80 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. Brent is up 14% on the year, but it has also declined 1.4% in the last week.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic crude inventories rose by 1.4 million barrels for the week ending November 15, which is the fourth consecutive weekly jump. This is slightly lower than the median estimate of 1.6 million barrels. Gasoline stockpiles jumped 1.8 million barrels, while distillate supplies slumped one million barrels.

The Baker Hughes total rig count came in at 674, down from 684 in the previous week.

Investors are worried that the prolonged US-China trade dispute could continue to impact demand levels for crude. In recent days, hopes for an agreement on phase one of a trade deal have diminished on the White House refusing to roll back tariffs and President Donald Trump threatening to raise import levies should China refuse to strike a deal.

Markets are also bracing for next month’s Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna on December 5 and 6. Analysts have sounded the alarm on a possible global supply, especially with Russia potentially refusing to deepen its production cuts. OPEC and non-OPEC members have agreed to slash 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of output until March to lift prices.

In other energy markets, December natural gas futures jumped $0.035, or 1.35%, to $2.55 per million British thermal units (btu). December gasoline futures tacked on $0.03, or 1.85%, to $1.635 a gallon. December heating oil futures edged up $0.03, or 1.62%, to $1.885 per gallon.

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