Oil heads for its first weekly loss in four weeks as investors weigh the outlook for U.S.-China trade talks and a surprise gain in U.S. crude inventories against deepening crisis in OPEC-member Venezuela.
Futures in New York were little changed, on course for a 1.2 percent weekly loss. While the U.S. and China could eventually reach a trade deal, they are still “miles and miles” from resolving their differences, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said. U.S. crude inventories had their biggest increase since November despite expectations for a decline. Meanwhile, growing instability in Venezuela is making OPEC’s task of rebalancing crude markets more complicated.
U.S. crude inventories rose 7.97 million barrels last week while gasoline stockpiles rose to a record high, the Energy Information Administration reported Thursday.
Crude stockpiles were forecast to fall 750,000 barrels in a Bloomberg survey of analysts before EIA data was released.
OPEC is retaking charge of the oil market after curbing production which will help Brent to slowly rise to as high as $70 a barrel this year, said Marco Dunand, chief executive officer of commodities trader Mercuria Energy Group Ltd.
Secretary of State Michael Pompeo ordered all non-emergency U.S. government employees to leave Venezuela because of increased danger to Americans after President Donald Trump recognized Juan Guaido as the country’s leader.
WTI for March delivery trades at $53.15/bbl on Nymex, +2c, at 9:09am in Tokyo. Contract +51c to $53.13 on Thursday.
March Brent -5c to $61.09/bbl on ICE Futures Europe exchange on Thursday, -2.6% this week.
Source : Bloomberg