Oil prices stable as US oil inventories decline but Omicron weighs in


An aerial view shows an Idemitsu Kosan Co. oil plant in Ichihara, east of Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 12, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Photo taken on November 12, 2021. Mandatory Credit Kyodo / via REUTERS EDITORS ATTENTION – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUTSIDE. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALE IN JAPAN.

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  • US crude and Brent trading near their highest level since late November
  • American crude fuel stocks fell last week -EIA
  • Asset classes, from oil to equities, are recovering losses
  • Gains come despite rapid increase in Omicron coronavirus cases

NEW YORK, Dec.29 (Reuters) – Oil prices stabilized on Wednesday, after government data showed U.S. crude and fuel inventories fell last week, but fears that increasing cases of coronavirus does not reduce demand weighed.

Brent crude fell 8 cents to $ 78.86 a barrel at 12:58 p.m. EST (5:48 p.m. GMT). US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 20 cents to $ 76.18 a barrel.

The average number of confirmed coronavirus cases per day in the United States has hit a record 258,312 in the past seven days, a Reuters tally revealed on Wednesday. Read more

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Both oil futures were trading earlier at their highest levels in a month after US government data showed lower oil inventories.

Crude inventories (USOILC = ECI) fell 3.6 million barrels last week to 420 million barrels, compared to analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a drop of 3.1 million barrels. Read more

U.S. gasoline inventories (USOILG = ECI) fell 1.5 million barrels over the same period to 222.66 million barrels, compared to analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a rise of 0, 5 million barrels.

Distillate inventories (USOILD = ECI) fell 1.7 million barrels to 122.43 million barrels, from an expected increase of 0.2 million barrels, according to EIA data.

“These are draws across the board that are favorable,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York City. “We are continuing to increase our domestic production, which is positive.”

Oil prices were supported by Ecuador, Libya and Nigeria which declared force majeure this month on part of their oil production due to maintenance issues and oil field closures. Read more

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said the OPEC + producer group had resisted calls from Washington to increase production because it wanted to provide the market with clear guidance and not deviate from the policy of gradually increasing production. productions.

Investors are awaiting an OPEC + meeting on January 4, when the alliance decides to proceed with a planned production increase of 400,000 barrels per day in February.

At its last meeting, OPEC + stuck to its plans to increase production for January despite the spread of the Omicron variant.

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Reporting by Stephanie Kelly, Dmitry Zhdannikov, Mohi Narayan and Naveen Thukral Editing by David Goodman, Chizu Nomiyama and Barbara Lewis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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