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Crude Oil Tumbles Along With Global Stocks

08 February 2018

"Given China's expected decline in domestic crude oil production, imports will likely continue to increase over at least the next two years".

"The stock market is bidding up some of these names beyond where they really ought to be", said Stewart Glickman, energy analyst at CFRA in NY.

Oil prices decline on Tuesday after the fall of global stock markets against the backdrop of the strengthening of the USA dollar.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its weekly petroleum status report Wednesday morning, showing that U.S. commercial crude inventories increased by 1.9 million barrels last week, maintaining a total U.S. commercial crude inventory of 420.3 million barrels.

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Benchmark indices of Australia, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan are down 2.8% - 5%. It is still higher than the five-year and 10-year historical averages of 15.6 times and 14.94 times, respectively.

On the flipside, United States production continues to notch new records and the narrative of higher Non-Opec output may seep into markets sooner rather than later and keep a lid on oil prices.

Barrel is the unit of measurement of oil volume.

West Texas Intermediate for March delivery was down 31 cents at $63.08/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 9:04 a.m. local time, after dropping 1.2% on Tuesday to the lowest since January 19. By end of trade on Monday, Brent crude had come down to $67.62 per barrel from $69.65 on February 1. The U.S. also made it once into China's top ten suppliers list a year ago - in October - when it was ninth in terms of crude oil sales to China.

The EIA forecasts that United States shale oil production will grow by 111,000 barrels a day to 6.55 million bpd in February, a new record. The country's import dependence is also expected to grow as imports rise and production at home declines.

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At 10.25 million bpd, USA output is now higher than the previous 10.044 million bpd record from 1970 and above that of top exporter Saudi Arabia. These positions have been trimmed, but are still largely arrayed in favour of rising oil prices. JP Morgan also predicted a higher oil price in the coming months. The extreme level of long positioning in the oil market also makes it vulnerable to negative developments. "That egg is finally cracking", Mr. Benigno said.

US crude exports have surged since the lifting of a decades-old ban in late 2015, helping support prices despite the rise in production.

Refinery crude runs rose by 784,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed. "We always anticipated that USA production is going to cross 10 million barrels a day", he added.

Gasoline stocks rose by 3.4 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 459,000-barrel gain.

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U.S. gasoline and distillate stocks also saw a build of 3.414 million barrels and 3.926 million barrels to 245.474 million barrels and 141.826 million barrels, respectively.

Crude Oil Tumbles Along With Global Stocks