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Crude Oil WTI Jun '19 (CLM19)

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Crude Oil WTI Futures Market News and Commentary

Crude Oil Settles Higher on Stronger-than-Expected U.S. Economic Data

May WTI crude oil (CLK19) on Thursday closed up by +0.24 (+0.38%) and Jun Brent crude oil (CBM19) closed up by +0.35 (+0.49%). May RBOB gasoline (RBK19) closed up by +0.0304 (+1.49%). The energy complex moved higher Thursday after stronger-than-expected U.S. economic data bolstered the demand outlook for crude oil and gasoline. Weekly initial unemployment claims unexpectedly fell -5,000 to a 49-3/4 year low of 192,000 and Mar retail sales rose +1.6%, the biggest increase in 1-1/2 years. The prospects for stronger fuel demand also pushed the crack spread up to a 10-month high Thursday, which may encourage refiners to boost their crude purchases to refine more gasoline. Gains in the energy complex were limited Thursday after the dollar index rose to a 2-week high. Crude oil prices still have support from concern that Libya crude output could be disrupted as an offensive from a militia loyal to Khalifa Haftar threatens an all-out war against Libyan government troops. Also, U.S. Feb trade data on Wednesday showed U.S. Feb crude exports jumped to a record 2.99 million bpd. Wednesday's EIA data showed that U.S. crude inventories as of Apr 12 were -0.1% below the 5-year average, gasoline supplies were -1.0% below the 5-year average, and distillate stockpiles were -5.8% below the 5-year average. U.S. crude production in the week ended Apr 12 was down -0.8% w/w at 12.1 million bpd, just below the recent record high of 12.2 million bpd. Big Picture Crude Oil Market Factors: Bullish factors include (1) the agreement by OPEC+ on Dec 7 to cut crude oil production by 1.2 million bpd for the first six months of 2019 (800,000 bpd for OPEC members), which should soak up much of the expected 2019 global oil surplus, (2) the -295,000 bpd decline in OPEC Mar crude production to a 4-year low of 30.385 million bpd, (3) increased compliance after OPEC's March compliance with crude production cuts rose to 155% from 104% in Feb, (4) the sharp drop in Iranian oil production from U.S. sanctions and in Venezuela oil production from U.S. sanctions and the economic crisis, (5) the drop in Russian crude oil production as of March 28 to 11.265 million bpd, down -153,000 bpd from October and a bigger cut than the -97,000 bpd decline from February, and (6) strong foreign demand for U.S. crude as trade data showed U.S. Feb crude exports jumped to a record 2.99 million bpd. Bearish factors include (1) the surge in U.S. oil production to a record high of 12.2 million bpd, (2) the recent surge in U.S. gasoline inventories to a record high 259.6 million bbl, and (3) the recent increase in crude supplies at Cushing, the delivery point for WTI futures, to a 14-month high.
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