Crude oil prices rise after bullish EIA report

epaselect epa07645392 The crude oil tanker Front Altair on fire in the Gulf of Oman, 13 June 2019. According to the Norwegian Maritime Authority, the Front Altair is currently on fire in the Gulf of Oman after allegedly being attacked and in the early morning of 13 June between the UAE and Iran. EPA/STRINGER

Oil prices recouped some of their losses on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration reported a crude oil inventory draw for the week to December 13.

The draw came in at 1.1 million barrels, which compared with analyst expectations of a 1.92-million-barrel draw and a build of 800,000 barrels for the previous week, according to OilPrice.

The EIA also reported a 2.5-million-barrel increase in petrol stockpiles and an average production rate of 9.8 million bpd. This compared with a hefty inventory increase of 5.4 million barrels and average production of 9.8 million bpd a week earlier.

In distillate fuels, the authority reported an inventory build of 1.5 million barrels for last week and production of 5.1 million bpd. This compared with a build of 4.1 million barrels and production of 5.2 million barrels daily in the previous week.

Refinery processing rates remained unchanged last week from the week before, at 16.6 million bpd. Imports stood at 6.6 million bpd, down from 6.9 million bpd.

January West Texas Intermediate crude was up 10 cents, or 0.2 per cent, at $61.03 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, compared with $60.43 before the supply data, according to MarketWatch.

Oil price sentiment has been moving closer to the optimistic end of the scale recently, as US-Chinese trade relations seem to have warmed enough for the sides to agree a “phase-one deal” that, according to President Trump, only needs to be translated now.

Fresh economic data from two of the world’s top oil consumers — the United States and China — has also been positive for oil prices, with industrial activity picking up on both in November.

There are, however, skeptics among investors, who are hard pressed to believe that even with this improved oil demand outlook and the deeper OPEC+ production cuts the prospects for oil prices is all that optimistic.

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are not among skeptics. The two banks both raised their oil prices outlook in the past week, citing OPEC+’s deeper cuts and improvements in the demand outlook for the commodity.

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