Rising U.S. Oil Stocks Weigh on Prices

Published November 16, 2017
Dow Jones Newswires

Oil prices edged lower Thursday as rising U.S. petroleum inventories and wavering demand forecasts continued to weigh on the market.

U.S. crude futures recently fell 4 cents, or 0.07%, to $55.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, fell 9 cents, or 0.15%, to $61.78 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration Wednesday released data showing that crude stockpiles climbed by 1.9 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 10, ahead of analysts' forecasts. That came on the heels the International Energy Agency's downward revision to its demand forecasts for this year and next, which sparked a selloff on Tuesday.

The two reports this week have helped stymie a rally that sent oil prices up some than 20% since the start of September.

But investors who piled into bullish positions on crude futures may be losing their appetite to keep buying.

"I think we've exhausted a technical run in the market," said Stephen Schork, editor of the energy trading newsletter The Schork Report. "We had a heck of a ride."

"The damage created from the IEA downbeat outlook for oil demand can still be seen in the commodity's price action, while Wednesday's EIA report has market players pondering over how OPEC deals with rising production of U.S. shale," analysts at brokerage FXTM wrote Thursday.

Oil market observers have cautioned that higher prices could incentivize U.S. shale oil producers to increase their output, which could slow the market rebalance and weigh on prices.

The EIA Wednesday also said U.S. oil production rose to a record weekly high last week of 9.645 million barrels.

The agency's weekly U.S. production estimates "have now climbed above the monthly all-time high from April 2015, while implied production figures have been running above 10 million barrels a day for three weeks in a row," according to analysts at consultancy JBC Energy.

Analysts and investors are looking ahead to a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna in two weeks. The cartel and other major producers including Russia are expected to extend an agreement to curb global production through next year. The deal, first agreed last year, has reined in global supply by roughly 2% and is set to expire in March.

Gasoline futures fell 1.11 cents, or 0.64%, to $1.7277 a gallon. Diesel futures fell 0.19 cent, or 0.1%, to $1.9068 a gallon.

Write to Christopher Alessi at christopher.alessi@wsj.com and Alison Sider at alison.sider@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 16, 2017 11:09 ET (16:09 GMT)