Oil Jumps on Booming US Exports
(Bloomberg) -- Oil jumped to the highest in almost four weeks as U.S. crude exports surged and the expansion of domestic inventories slowed dramatically.
Futures rose 0.9% in New York on Thursday. American oil exporters shipped the equivalent of more than one-fourth of the nation’s output to foreign buyers, a government report showed. Meanwhile, U.S. oil stockpiles rose by 415,000 barrels last week, well below the 3.2 million forecast by analysts.
That government report followed supportive macroeconomic and geopolitical developments including Chinese fiscal stimulus and new threats to supplies from Africa and Latin America.
“Exports were up much more than expected,” said Bob Yawger, futures director at Mizuho Securities USA. “We also have Libya and Venezuela taken off the books for supply that’s giving markets some support.”
West Texas Intermediate for March delivery, which expired Thursday, rose 49 cents to settle at $53.78 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent for April settlement advanced 19 cents to close at $59.31 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Amid the escalation in crude supply risks, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries sent invitations for a meeting between the cartel and allied producers early next month. Investors are watching to see if the March gathering yields stricter output controls.
“There is hope that OPEC is taking necessary actions to keep oil demand in balance and appears to be positioned to take additional action if necessary,” said Rob Thummel, a portfolio manager at Tortoise.
Other oil-market news:
- Gasoline futures rose 0.4% to settle at $1.6697 a gallon.
- The waiting time for tankers unloading cargoes of crude and fuels at ports in Shandong is getting longer as the coronavirus crimps demand from the nation’s refiners.
- The surplus of supertankers in the Middle East during the next month -- which reached a record level earlier this month -- will be lower, while remaining above average levels for the time of year, according to a Bloomberg survey.
--With assistance from Grant Smith, Saket Sundria and James Thornhill.
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