WTI Crude Declines From Four-Week High on U.S. SuppliesMoming Zhou
West Texas Intermediate retreated from a four-week high before a U.S. government report that may show crude inventories rose for a second week.
Prices dropped as much as 1 percent. Stockpiles probably increased by 2.25 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report today. WTI also fell as the Federal Reserve may further cut stimulus at the conclusion of a two-day meeting today.
“Crude inventories are rising and that points to a weak fundamental picture,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “There are fears that the Fed’s pullback is going to impact economic growth.”
WTI for March delivery fell 93 cents, or 1 percent, to $96.48 a barrel at 9:30 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price reached $96.42. The contract climbed $1.69 to $97.41 yesterday, the highest close since Dec. 31. The volume of all futures traded was 16 percent lower than the 100-day average for the time of day.
Brent for March settlement dropped 32 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $107.09 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 3 percent below the 100-day average. Brent was at a premium of $10.61 a barrel to WTI, compared with $10 yesterday.
The EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, may say that crude inventories rose to 353.5 million in the week ended Jan. 24, the Bloomberg survey showed. The industry-funded American Petroleum Institute said yesterday that they advanced 4.75 million barrels.
The API in Washington collects supply information on a voluntary basis from operators of refineries, bulk terminals and pipelines. The government requires that reports be filed with the EIA for its weekly survey.
U.S. distillate supplies, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, fell by 1.79 million barrels, the API said yesterday. The EIA will report a decline of 2.55 million, the survey’s median estimate showed.
Gasoline inventories gained 363,000 barrels, the API said. The median survey estimate for the EIA report is an increase of 1.6 million.
The Fed decided at its December gathering to begin cutting its monthly bond buying by $10 billion to $75 billion. It will probably reduce purchases in $10 billion increments over the next six meetings before announcing an end to the program no later than December, according to a Bloomberg survey this month.