County fuel prices hit 18 month high

Jan 4 USA crude stocks tumbled during the final week of 2016, while gasoline and distillate inventories surged, the American Petroleum Institute, a trade organization, said Wednesday. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub rose by 482,000 barrels, API said.

Still, the country's oil stocks remain full, the U.S. Department of Energy reported on Thursday, at nearly 480 million barrels, or at the high end of normal.

Firmer prices for WTI than for Brent were supported by an American Petroleum Institute (API) report showing USA crude inventories fell 7.4 million barrels in the week ended December 30 to stand at 482.7 million, outstripping analyst expectations for a decrease of 2.2 million. A tumble in the US dollar to a one-month low (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dollar-slides-again-on-feds-considerable-uncertainty-about-trump-future-2017-01-05) also provided support for the commodity, which is traded in the greenback.

Analysts had been anticipating a 2 million barrel-a-day draw in inventories, with a 1 million barrel-a-day increase in gasoline stockpiles.

So far Libya's revival has done little to undermine a plan by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to prop up prices by restricting oil supply.

"But it's not worth expecting a big effect", Aliyev said.

Oil imports for last week stood at 7.2 million bpd, compared with 8.2 million bpd in the previous week, when imports registered a 304,000-bpd decline.

Brent recouped earlier losses yesterday and jumped above US$55 a barrel and WTI climbed over US$53, but how long this rally will last is questionable, even though EIA's figures are in tune with API's.

The collective non-OPEC pledge is a 558,000 barrels per day cut. Before Thursday, prices had tallied a decline of more than 17% from a four-session losing streak on concerns that warmer weather would hurt demand for the heating fuel.

  • Eleanor Harrison