Oil Falls on Inventory Build, Demand Worries
By Adedapo Adesanya
Crude oil prices were hit on Tuesday night as expectations of a huge crude oil inventory in the United States pulled prices down as demand worries caused by the coronavirus continued to pressure the market.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, dropped $1.18 or 3.57 percent to trade down at $31.87 per barrel. As for the US benchmark, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude, it plunged by $2.45 or 9.4 percent to $23.63 per barrel.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) estimated on Tuesday a large crude oil inventory build of 11.9 million barrels for the week ending April 4
The Energy Information Administration (EIA), on the other hand, on Tuesday said it expects that US crude oil production will average 11.76 million barrels per day through December, compared with its prior target of 12.99 million barrels.
The EIA also cut its 2021 target to just over 11 million daily barrels.
The level of inventories influences the price of petroleum products. If the increase in crude inventories is more than expected, it implies weaker demand and is bearish for crude prices as was seen at the day’s session.
Likewise, if a decline in crude inventories is less than expected, it implies greater demand and is bullish for crude prices.
Last week, the API estimated a large build in crude oil inventories of 10.5 million barrels, while the EIA’s estimates were even more bearish, noting a build of 13.8 million barrels for the week.
Oil prices were trading higher last week due to optimism that OPEC+ could reach a production cut deal and bring other oil producing states such as the US, Brasil and Canada on board the cuts as well.
Even with a speculated global production cut as large as 15 million barrels per day, traders are worried that this might not hold on for long and would only extend the inevitable as the oil market continues to collapse due to weakened demand caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Estimates of demand drops now is at almost 20 million barrels per day and with that affected, more supplies are left laying around in storages as market analysts say the global oil glut may reach up to 35 million barrels per day
As a result, a supply cut announcement at Thursday’s meeting would delay the time at which global inventories will fill to the brim, but as long as the pandemic continues to keep billions people on lockdown, the oil surplus will remain.
Representatives from the US, Canada, UK, Brasil, Norway, Argentina, Columbia, Egypt, Indonesia, Chad and Trinidad and Tobago were reportedly invited to the virtual OPEC meeting to discuss cuts.