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Crude Oil WTI Apr '17 (CLJ17)

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Crude Oil WTI Futures Market News and Commentary

Energy Complex Closes Lower on Dollar Strength and Demand Concerns

June WTI crude oil (CLM19) on Friday closed down by -0.11 (-0.17%) and July Brent crude oil (CBN19) closed down by -0.41 (-0.56%). June RBOB gasoline (RBK19) closed down by -0.0145 (-0.70%). The energy complex on Friday gave up an early advance and closed lower after the dollar index rose to a 2-week high. Also, a slump in stocks Friday due to stalled U.S./China trade talks is a negative for the energy complex on concern the ongoing U.S./China trade conflict will drag global growth and energy demand lower. Jun WTI crude oil and Jun RBOB gasoline early Friday climbed to 2-week highs on heightened tensions in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia on Thursday accused Iran of ordering this week's attack on Saudi oil installations. U.S. tensions with Iran remain high after the New York Times on Tuesday reported that the Trump administration is reviewing a plan to deploy up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran escalates tensions. Strength in Friday's U.S. economic data was also supportive for economic growth and fuel demand after the University of Michigan U.S. May consumer sentiment index rose +5.2 to a 15-1/4 year high of 102.4. Finally, Friday afternoon's weekly data from Baker Hughes was supportive for crude prices as it showed that active U.S. oil rigs fell by -3 rigs to a 13-month low of to 802 rigs. Wednesday's EIA data showed that U.S. crude oil inventories as of May 10 were +3.5% above the 5-year average, gasoline inventories were -2.4% below the 5-year average, and distillate inventories were -4.6% below the 5-year average. 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) the Trump administration's announcement that the U.S. will not renew waivers that let countries buy Iranian oil without facing U.S. sanctions, (4) heightened Iran tensions in the Middle East after attacks on Saudi Arabia's ships and facilities and the U.S. action to send a carrier group and bombers to the Middle East, and (5) the sharp drop in Iranian oil production from U.S. sanctions and in Venezuela oil production from U.S. sanctions and the economic crisis. Bearish factors include (1) stalled U.S./China trade talks that cause concern the ongoing U.S./China trade conflict will drag global growth and energy demand lower, (2) the recent rally in the dollar index to a 1-3/4 year high, and (3) the recent surge in U.S. oil production to a record high of 12.3 million bpd although production has since fallen back slightly to 12.1 million bpd.
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