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WTI Crude Surges as API Data Shows Slipping Gasoline Stocks


Prices of crude oil surged on Wednesday in Asia after industry data on United States crude and refined product stockpiles indicated a steep plunge in gasoline supplies.

West Texas Intermediate futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange for April delivery climbed 1.57 percent, to trade at $36.91 per barrel.

The American Petroleum Institute reported that crude oil stocks gained 471,000 barrels last week while distillates stock slipped 830,000 barrels, and gasoline stock sank 1.2 million barrels.

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Meanwhile, government report indicated report on Wednesday that crude stockpiles jumped by 3.4 million barrels for the week ended March 11.

A day earlier, crude futures tumbled 2 percent on Tuesday, following losses from the previous trading session, as a monthly report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries gave more signs of an increasing gap between supply and demand on global energy markets.

United States crude prices have suddenly slid back to a 10 day lows just two sessions after rallying to their highest level since December. The selloff has worsened concerns among market players that a six week high may come to an end.

Since slumping to 13 year lows from February at $26.05 per barrel, West Texas Intermediate has bounced back nearly 30 percent.

Brent crude on the Intercontinental Exchange for May delivery staggered between $38.33 and 39.74 per barrel, before ending at $38.71, dipping 82 cents or 2.07 percent on the session. North Sea crude oil futures have also grown steeply over the last month and a half after momentarily stumbling below $30 per barrel in February.

Crude oil prices continued to plummet, even if the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries slightly reduced production last month.

In OPEC’s monthly oil market report, which was published on Monday, indicated that its output inched down by 175,000 to 32.28 million barrels per day in February, particularly because of pipeline disruptions in Nigeria and Iraq.

Production in the world’s biggest exporter of crude, Saudi Arabia, tacked on 10.22 million barrels per day.

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Market analysts seemed to be more worried with the rising imbalance between supply and demand, amid signs for lower than seen refinery demand in Asia during the spring maintenance season and sluggish economic outlook in Latin America.

Due to this, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reduced its demand outlook for 2016 by 90,000 to 31.52 million barrels per day. The estimates still predict a surge of approximately 1.8 million barrels per day from OPEC’s average demand in the previous year.

If the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries proceeds to drill oil at February’s level, its supply will surpass demand by 760,000 barrels per day in 2016.

Oil prices have declined more than 60 percent over the last 15 months since OPEC shook global markets with a strategic decision to keep its production ceiling above level of 30 million barrels per day in order to defend market share.

The strategy prompted market to battle for share with United States shale producers, immersing markets with a glut of supply.

As reported by OPEC, “There has been a reduction in production costs, mainly in the U.S., as well as increased hedging, with producers choosing to produce with losses rather than stopping production. This has caused the non-OPEC supply forecast in 2016 to become more uncertain.”

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