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Oil Inventories Rise Much Faster Than Expected (USO)

09 March 2018

Vessel-tracking and port data suggest Asian imports of US crude were equivalent to about 560,000 barrels per day (bpd) in February, down sharply from 676,190 bpd in January.

The EIA expects next year's United States production to average 11.3 million bpd, the report said.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. crude inventories rose by 2.4 million barrels in the week-ended March 2, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 2.7 million barrels.

"However I don't believe that this strength will be long lived with rising US production and a strengthening dollar".

Oil prices were broadly steady on Thursday but still set to slip over the week for the second time in a row against a backdrop of rising U.S. crude production and an increase in inventories.

Brent for May settlement fell $1.43 to $64.26 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange.

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Brent futures slipped 32 cents to $64.47 a barrel by 1232 GMT, while US crude futures fell 33 cents to $62.27, although both contracts had eased off their lows in line with a recovery in S&P futures.

With the inventories reports out of the way, traders are likely to go back to focusing on the outcome of the tariff debate and whether Trump will implement his plan to sanction imports of steel and aluminum, and if other countries will take retaliatory action.

That will most likely require rising shale oil output, a levelling out of USA refinery demand and ongoing OPEC curbs to keep prices other than WTI at elevated levels.

The volume of shipments is significantly more than the record 179,000 BPD reached in September 2014, before oil prices dropped. Declines in the equity market, a rising dollar and concern that Trump's tariff threats will spark a trade war acted as a downward force on crude oil. When asked whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was anxious about further US crude output growth, OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said he wasn't and pointed to robust demand. Global demand will increase almost 7 million barrels per day by 2023 to 104.7 million barrels per day, the report said, with China the main proponent of growth in demand.

Distillate inventories saw a build this week of 1.487 million barrels. Traders are responding to White House comments saying Canada and Mexico, and possibly other countries, may be exempted from planned USA import tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Oil Inventories Rise Much Faster Than Expected (USO)