Oil Futures Experience Decline

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U.S. Crude Inventories Rise and OPEC+ Considers Extension

Oil futures took a hit on Wednesday following the release of industry data showing a significant increase in U.S. crude inventories in the past week. The market was also impacted by reports that OPEC+, consisting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, is considering extending voluntary production cuts into the second quarter.

Key Details:

  • West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery dipped by 1%, settling at $78.11 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
  • April Brent crude, the global benchmark, saw an 0.8% decrease, closing at $82.95 per barrel on ICE Futures Europe.
  • American Petroleum Institute reported an 8.4 million barrel surge in U.S. crude inventories last week, with gasoline stocks and distillate supplies experiencing a decrease.

This fluctuation in oil futures highlights the ongoing impact of market trends and production decisions by key players in the industry.

Energy Inventory Update

The Energy Information Administration is set to release official data on Wednesday morning. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Commodity Insights are anticipating crude inventories to increase by 2 million barrels on average. Meanwhile, gasoline stocks are expected to decrease by 2.1 million barrels and distillates are projected to show a fall of 500,000 barrels.

OPEC+ Decision Ahead

With the focus now gradually shifting towards the OPEC+ decision on voluntary output cuts for the second quarter of 2024, strategists at ING, Ewa Manthey and Warren Patterson, share their insights.

The group is expected to make an announcement over the first week of March. There are high expectations for the group to extend the existing cuts in light of the softer crude oil prices. Since the announcement of voluntary cuts in November 2023, ICE Brent has been trading softly amid demand concerns. The recent recovery has only brought prices back to November levels, standing at $83 a barrel.

The demand prospects remain subdued in the short-term due to economic slowdown, prompting the group to potentially maintain cuts to stabilize the market.

Commodities Corner

Despite ongoing turmoil, oil prices remain resilient. What could potentially ignite a significant market movement?

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