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Will US Crude Oil Inventories Fall for the Ninth Week?

17 June 2017

Traders will be closely watching US weekly oil data due Wednesday.

US crude imports rose last week by 1.102 million barrels per day.

WTI was trading at $48.10 at 2:30pm EST, up 1.48 percent on the day-with Brent trading at $50.05 per barrel, or 1.17 percent up since open.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) increased its U.S. output estimates with an increase in production to 9.3 million bpd expected for 2017 while the EIA also projected that 2017 output could reach 10 million bpd.

A campaign by leading Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, to isolate Qatar is disrupting trade in commodities, including oil.

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The achievement comes two weeks after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), along with 11 other countries, announced a nine-month extension to cuts in oil output, according to Reuters.

Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader, said there was "a real chance" OPEC solidarity surrounding its production cuts may fracture.

USA crude futures were recently down 46 cents, or 0.97%, at $47.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Oil halted gains as US industry data showed gasoline stockpiles expanded, countering expectations of a seasonal decline and a decrease in crude inventories.

Bloomberg reported that USA crude imports from Saudi Arabia fell by 55 per cent for the week that ended June 2, but imports from Iraq hit levels not seen since 2012.

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Last month, the cartel agreed a deal with non-OPEC to continue its 1.8 bpd production cuts until March 2018 at the earliest.

US crude imports rose last week by 1.1 million bbl/d.

"In terms of oil flows it doesn't change very much but there is a wider geopolitical impact one needs to consider", Jakob added, explaining that a breakdown in relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia could make the OPEC-led agreement on production cuts less effective. Exports dropped to 557K bpd from the previous week's 1.3M bpd, whereas crude imports advanced 1.1M bpd.

The rise was driven by sharp output recoveries in Libya and Nigeria, both of which are exempt from the organisation's production cut agreement. "But if, as we have already seen, higher refinery runs and/or crude exports are the causes of these inventory drawdowns, then the impact on Opec's balancing act is actually negative".

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Will US Crude Oil Inventories Fall for the Ninth Week?