Oil Rallies After Surprise Decline in U.S. Crude Stockpiles
Oil spiked above $55/bbl for the first time in three weeks after a surprise drop in U.S. crude supplies signaled strengthening demand.
Futures rose as much as 1.5% in New York on Wednesday after an Energy Information Administration report showed American crude inventories fell by 1.7 MMbbl last week and gasoline stockpiles shrank more than forecast. Imports of foreign crude slumped to the lowest in more than two decades.
“There’s a fair bit to like in this report,” said Matt Sallee, portfolio manager at Tortoise, a Kansas firm that oversees more than $21 billion in assets. “We view inventories moving lower from here.”
Oil has been under pressure since late April as the U.S.-China trade war dented the demand outlook and global supplies swelled. Earlier this month, OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said the group would do “whatever it takes” to prevent another oil slump.
West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery rose $0.66to $55.14/bbl at 11:19 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The front-month contract last topped the $55 mark on Sept. 30.
Brent for December settlement rose $0.60 to $60.30 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The global benchmark crude traded at a $5.16 premium to WTI.
On a seasonal basis, American gasoline demand is at its highest since at least 1991, the EIA report indicated. “That’s showing the strength of the U.S. economy,” Sallee said.