WTI Crude Climbs to One-Week High After U.S. Stockpiles DeclineBen Sharples
West Texas Intermediate crude rose to the highest in more than a week as an industry report showed stockpiles declined in the U.S., the world’s biggest consumer.
Futures increased as much as 0.8 percent in New York to the highest intraday price since April 15. U.S. crude inventories fell 845,000 barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute said in a report yesterday. Government data today will show supplies climbed 2 million barrels to the most in 22 years, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Iraq may exit OPEC if the group won’t let the nation’s output rise, State Minister Ali al-Dabbagh said in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
“We are getting support from the inventory numbers,” said Jonathan Barratt, the chief executive officer of Barratt’s Bulletin, a commodity newsletter in Sydney. “The trend is slightly improving from a demand perspective,” he said, predicting WTI’s advance may stall at about $90 a barrel.
WTI for June delivery rose as much as 70 cents to $89.88 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $89.72 at 2:31 p.m. Singapore time. The volume of all futures traded was 17 percent below the 100-day average. The contract slid 1 cent to $89.18 yesterday. Prices are down 2.3 percent this year.
Brent for June settlement gained as much as 49 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $100.80 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark grade was at a premium of $10.92 to WTI futures, from $11.13 yesterday.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its three-month outlook for Brent to $100 a barrel from $110 and lowered its 2013 forecast to $105 from $110. Oil demand in China, the world’s second-largest crude consumer, “slowed down significantly” from January to March, the bank said in a report yesterday.
China’s apparent oil consumption, or the amount of crude processed plus net imports of refined products, dropped to 9.77 million barrels a day last month, the slowest rate since October, government data show.
U.S. gasoline stockpiles decreased 2.7 million barrels last week to 219.9 million, the lowest level this year, the report from the industry-funded API showed. Distillate inventories, including heating oil and diesel, gained by 666,000 barrels. Crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for Nymex futures, increased by 38,000 barrels to 51.1 million, the highest level since Feb. 1.
The Energy Information Administration report today may show gasoline stockpiles declined 600,000 barrels while distillates rose by 500,000 barrels last week, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts in the Bloomberg survey.
The API collects stockpile information on a voluntary basis from operators of refineries, bulk terminals and pipelines. The government requires that reports be filed with the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, for its weekly survey.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries must make room for 5 million barrels a day of Iraqi oil exports in the future, al-Dabbagh said yesterday at the Middle East Petroleum and Gas Conference, without giving a time frame. The country is the second-biggest producer in the group, pumping 3.2 million barrels a day in March, according to a Bloomberg survey of producers and analysts. OPEC is scheduled to meet May 31 in Vienna to discuss its collective output ceiling of 30 million barrels a day.
“We want to stay in OPEC, but if OPEC is not helping us then we are looking at our interests,” al-Dabbagh said.
WTI’s advance may stall as an indicator of technical momentum falters. The 50-day moving average, around $92.87 a barrel today, has pared a premium to the 100-day and 200-day mean to the least in about 12 weeks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Investors typically sell contracts on a “death cross,” when a moving average drops below a longer-term one.