Tuesday, December 18, 2018
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WTI Crude Trades Near One-Month High on Gasoline Demand

West Texas Intermediate crude traded near a one-month high as a government report showed rising consumption of gasoline reduced inventories of the fuel. Brent rose on concern that Libyan exports' return may be delayed.

Prices were little changed in New York. Gasoline demand increased to a three-month high in the four weeks ended April 4, as supplies dropped to the least since November, the Energy Information Administration said. Crude supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, rose for the first time in 10 weeks, widening WTI's discount to Brent.

"Gasoline demand is picking up, and the drop in gasoline inventories is helping the overall market," said Tom Finlon, Jupiter, Florida-based director of Energy Analytics Group LLC. "WTI is taking a bit of a breather due to the build in Cushing."

WTI for May delivery rose 4 cents to $102.60 a barrel at 11:25 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange after reaching $102.86 in earlier trading. Prices were at $102.60 before the report was released at 10:30 a.m. in Washington. The volume of all futures traded was 23 percent above the 100-day average.

Brent for May settlement gained 13 cents to $107.80 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Volume was 9.9 percent above the 100-day average. The European benchmark grade was at a premium of $5.20 to WTI. The spread closed at $5.11 yesterday, the narrowest since Oct. 2.
Fuel Consumption

Gasoline demand averaged 8.81 million barrels in the four weeks ended April 4, the highest level since Jan. 3, the EIA, the Energy Department's statistical arm, said. Inventories of the fuel dropped to 210.4 million, the least since Nov. 15.

Gasoline for May delivery advanced 2.18 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $3.0019 a gallon on the Nymex. It rose above $3 a gallon for the first time in a month.

Supplies at Cushing, the delivery point for WTI futures, increased 345,000 barrels to 27.6 million after dropping to a four-year low the previous week. Stockpiles had decreased since the southern link of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)'s Keystone XL pipeline started shipping Cushing crude to the Gulf Coast in January.

Total U.S. crude stockpiles grew 4.03 million barrels, more than five times as much as analysts forecast, to a four-month high of 384.1 million barrels.

"WTI is taking a breather after the surprise build at Cushing," said Chip Hodge, who oversees a $9 billion natural-resource bond portfolio as senior managing director at Manulife Asset Management in Boston

The Libyan ports of Zueitina and Hariga, returned by rebels to the government earlier this week, will remain subject to force majeure until at least April 13, a member of parliament said. Libyan output fell to 250,000 barrels a day in March from 1.4 million a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Moming Zhou in New York at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Stets at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Margot Habiby, Richard Stubbe


  • Department of Energy Weekly Report (Wednesdays 10:30am est)
  • American Petroleum Institute Weekly Report (Wednesdays 10:30am Est)
  • Natural Gas Inventories Weekly Report (Thursdays 10:30am est)
  • OPEC Production Quotas
  • OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report
  • Non-OPEC Oil Production
  • Mideast Stability
  • Weather- Related demand
  • CFTC Commitment of Traders Report
  • Energy Information Administration Report (Tuesday afternoons)
  • International Energy Agency Policy
  • Chinese (Asian) demand
  • Iraqi production and export levels
  • Russian shale production
  • Alternation Energy production and technological breakthroughs
  • Inflation
  • Dollar weakness and purchasing power
  • Refining Capacity
  • Weather related refining production limitations (eg hurricanes in the gulf)
  • Venezuelan Production
  • Venezuelan Foreign Policy in relation with US
  • Iran Nuclear dispute status
  • US Strategic Petroleum Reserves
  • US New Drilling and Exploratory Initiatives
  • Oil Spills
  • International Energy Agency Reserves
  • General Accountability Office Study on Geopolitical Disruptions
  • International and Domestic Tax rates relating to oil and gasoline
  • New Geopolitical order after Arab Spring

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