Futures on US West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil hit a fresh one-week high on Thursday after a sharper-than-expected drop in US crude oil inventories and as output in the Gulf of Mexico remains obstructed following recent hurricanes.
Renewed investor risk appetite also supported oil prices, since concerns over a potential default by property developer China Evergrande eased.
The official report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed yesterday that crude oil inventories had decreased by 3.481 million barrels to 414 million barrels during the week ended September 17th, which has been the lowest inventory level since October 2018. Analysts on average had anticipated a smaller drop – by 2.440 million barrels.
The EIA also reported that US East Coast refinery utilization rates had risen to 93%, or their highest level since May 2019.
“With Gulf of Mexico production returning slowly, and natural gas prices remaining sky high, the structural outlook for oil remains promising as OPEC+ struggles to meet even its current production quotas,” Jeffrey Halley, an analyst at OANDA, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Several OPEC+ members such as Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Angola have had difficulties in recent months to increase output due to years of under-investment or postponed maintenance work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to ANZ Research, the market is also drawing support from higher natural gas prices.
“Supply shortage of gas could encourage power utilities to shift from gas to oil if winter turns out to be colder this year,” ANZ said in an investor note.
As of 8:40 GMT on Thursday WTI Crude Oil Futures were edging up 0.29% to trade at $72.44 per barrel, after earlier touching an intraday high of $72.54 per barrel. The latter has been the black liquid’s strongest price level since September 16th ($72.99 per barrel). WTI Crude Oil Futures have risen 5.65% so far in September, following a 7.37% drop in August.
At the same time, Brent Oil Futures were gaining 0.61% on the day to trade at $76.32 per barrel, after earlier touching an intraday high of $76.50 per barrel. The latter has been the black liquid’s strongest price level since July 14th ($76.68 per barrel). Brent Oil Futures have risen 6.39% so far in September, following a 4.63% drop in August.
Daily Pivot Levels (traditional method of calculation) – WTI Crude Oil Futures
Central Pivot – $71.72
R1 – $72.81
R2 – $73.38
R3 – $74.47
R4 – $75.55
S1 – $71.15
S2 – $70.06
S3 – $69.49
S4 – $68.91
Daily Pivot Levels (traditional method of calculation) – Brent Oil Futures
Central Pivot – $75.54
R1 – $76.56
R2 – $77.27
R3 – $78.29
R4 – $79.32
S1 – $74.83
S2 – $73.81
S3 – $73.10
S4 – $72.40