U.S. crude oil holds above $78 a barrel as stockpiles fall

U.S. crude oil holds above  a barrel as stockpiles fall

Aerial view of a ship at sea.

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U.S. crude oil held firm on Wednesday after domestic stockpiles declined more than expected.

In the U.S., commercial crude oil inventories, which exclude the strategic petroleum reserve, fell by 2.5 million barrels last week, according to data released by the Energy Information Administration. This is compared to the 543,000 barrel draw expected in a Reuters poll of analysts.

Oil prices fell earlier in the session after the International Energy Agency cuts its global demand growth forecast by 140,000 barrels per day to 1.1 million barrels per day as demand softened in developed economies in the first quarter.

U.S. oil and Brent are down 5.4% and 6.86%, respectively, for the month.

Here are today’s energy prices:

  • West Texas Intermediate June contract: $78.06 a barrel, up 5 cents. Year to date, U.S. crude oil has gained about 9%.
  • Brent July contract: $82.36 a barrel, down 2 cents. Year to date, the global benchmark has gained about 7%.
  • RBOB Gasoline June contract: $2.48 a gallon, up 0.9%. Year to date, gasoline futures have gained 18%.
  • Natural Gas June contract: $2.34 per thousand cubic feet, up 0.09%. Year to date, gas has lost about 6.64%.

Global crude inventories surged in March by 34.6 million barrels as trade disruptions pushed oil on water to a post-pandemic high, according to the IEA. Oil deliveries have been rerouted this year due to attacks by Yemen-based Houthi militants on shipping through the Red Sea.

Inventories continued to build in April as oil on water was discharged to land, leading to an increase in onshore stockpiles, according to the IEA.

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WTI v. Brent

OPEC+ will likely take a close look at global inventories to gauge the balance between supply and demand at its June meeting, according to the IEA. Some OPEC+ members have implemented voluntary production cuts of 2.2 million barrels per day to support crude prices.

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