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US Crude Struggles to Stay Above $64 on New EIA Oil Report

January 18, 2018 at 17:33 by Andrew Moran

Oil futures are trading relatively flat following the release of the new US government report. US crude is struggling to stay above $65, while Brent crude is unable to hold any momentum towards the end of the trading week.

February West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $0.08, or 0.13%, to $64.05 per barrel at 16:16 GMT on Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. US crude prices have tumbled 0.4% since hitting three-year highs on Friday.

Brent, the international benchmark for oil prices, is teetering between red and green. March Brent crude futures jumped $0.06, or 0.09%, to $69.44 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. Last week, Brent prices advanced above $70 for the first time since 2014, buoyed by political turmoil in Iran and Venezuela.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic crude stockpiles declined 6.9 million barrels for the week ending January 12, while US oil output climbed 258,000 barrels per day (bpd) for a total of 9.75 million bpd. Gasoline stockpiles increased by 3.6 million barrels for the week, while distillate supplies slipped by 3.9 million barrels.

The EIA released its 2018 WTI and Brent futures forecasts last week, projecting them to trade at $55.33 and $59.74, respectively.

On Thursday, the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said December oil production rose 42,000 barrels bpd to 32.42 million, while also revising its 2018 demand forecast to 98.51 million bpd. The tightening of international crude supplies by OPEC has helped lift oil prices over the last two years and drain the global supply glut.

This week, Nigerian militants threatened to destroy offshore oil facilities in the coming days, repeating the attacks in the Niger Delta in 2016. Past attacks by militant groups have affected the nation’s output by as much as one million bpd.

Natural gas prices are taking a hit as February futures plummeted $0.143, or 4.7%. to $3.081 per million British thermal units. February gasoline futures jumped $0.017, or 0.92%, to $1.875 per gallon.

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