Crude posts further gain in Asia after suprise US stocks draw

Posted May 18, 2017

USA light crude oil was up 75 cents at $48.08.

The bullish inventories report came in after crude prices dipped 1% when EIA highlighted its near-term outlook for US oil production and reiterates its estimates for oil prices.

Some analysts questioned whether the staying power of the sharp price rebound after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said crude inventories fell 5.2 million barrels last week, much more than the 1.8 million-barrel slide analysts predicted.

Oil prices surged more than 3 percent after the latest report on USA crude stockpiles eased fears that have permeated the market in recent weeks, helping to drag prices to almost six-month lows.

It has since recovered to more than $50 and headed close to $60, helped by a decision by oil-producing nations at the end of a year ago to curb production.

Further, the EIA upgraded its crude oil estimate to an average of 9.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2017 and 10 million bpd in 2018.

Gasoline and distillate stocks also fell, supporting a market that has sold off in recent weeks due to persistently high USA inventories.

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On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude futures for June delivery climbed 0.49% to settle at $47.56 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent added 0.44% to end at $50.44 a barrel.

US oil production continued to rise, jumping above 9.3 million bpd last week, the highest since August 2015.

Market participants are now largely expecting OPEC to extend, and possibly deepen, the supply cuts when they meet for a summit on May 25. The surprise decrease in gasoline and distillate inventories also helped mitigate worries that US commuters weren't soaking up enough gasoline to offset supply.

"Chief among (the) oil market's worries is that the renewed rise in US oil production is reducing the speed at which the supply surplus is being eroded", Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com, said in a note.

Two OPEC members are exempt from the cut-Nigeria and Libya- and a third member, Iran, was allowed to boost output to a specified level.

Prices surged immediately after the agreement in November, but have come under pressure in recent weeks as United States production has ramped up and pushed back expectations for when the oil market will come into balance.