Crude Oil WTI Futures Market News and Commentary
Oct WTI crude oil (CLV19) on Friday closed down by -0.24 (-0.44%), Nov Brent crude oil (CBX19) closed down by -0.16 (-0.26%), and Oct RBOB gasoline (RBV19) closed up by +0.0001 (+0.01%). The energy complex settled mixed Friday as concern about over supply offset a fall in the dollar index to a 2-week low. The dollar index fell to a 2-week low Friday, which gave the energy complex a boost. Also, trade tensions eased after China's Commerce Ministry announced Friday that it is encouraging companies to buy U.S. farm products including soybeans and pork and will exclude those commodities from additional tariffs. Reduced U.S./China trade tensions are supportive for crude prices as that bolsters the outlook for economic growth and energy demand. Crude oil prices continued to be undercut by the International Energy Agency's (IEA) report on Thursday that OPEC+ faces a "daunting" oil market surplus in 2020 as global demand for OPEC+ crude in the first half of 2020 will be 1.4 million bpd below the group's Aug output levels as production surges from their competitors. Also, Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman said Thursday that any discussion of deeper OPEC+ crude production cuts will wait until the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) meets on Dec 4. In addition, comments on Friday from the Executive Director of the IEA undercut the energy complex when he said new oil supply coming to market next year could pressure crude prices. Crude oil prices continue to be weighed down by concern that the Trump administration may be preparing to ease some sanctions on Iran in order to smooth the way towards a possible meeting between President Trump and Iranian President Rouhani in the last week of September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings in New York. An easing of sanctions on Iran could allow Iran to boost crude oil exports, thereby expanding global crude supplies. Friday's global economic data was supportive for economic growth prospects and energy demand. U.S. Aug retail sales rose +0.4%, stronger than expectations of +0.2%, and the University of Michigan U.S. Sep consumer sentiment rose +2.2 to 92.0, stronger than expectations of +1.0 to 90.8. Also, Eurozone Q2 labor costs rose +2.7% y/y, the fastest pace of increase in 9-3/4 years. In addition, Friday afternoon's weekly data from Baker Hughes showed U.S. active oil rigs fell by -5 to 733, the fewest in 1-3/4 years. Wednesday’s weekly EIA data showed that U.S. crude oil inventories as of Sep 6 were -0.9% below the seasonal 5-year average, gasoline inventories were +3.2% above the 5-year average, and distillate inventories were -5.5% below the 5-year average. U.S. crude production in the week ended Sep 6 was unchanged at 12.4 million bpd, just below the record high of 12.5 million bpd in the week of Aug 23. Big Picture Crude Oil Market Factors: Bullish factors include (1) the agreement by OPEC+ to extend its production cut agreement by 9 months until March 2020, (2) the -130,000 bpd decline in OPEC July crude production to a 5-1/2 year low of 29.87 million bpd, (3) heightened Persian Gulf tensions, and (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. Bearish factors include (1) the recent rally in the dollar index to a 2-year high, (2) global trade tensions that may drag global growth and energy demand lower, (3) the recent surge in U.S. oil production to a record high of 12.5 million bpd, and (4) near-average current supplies with U.S. crude oil inventories -0.9% below the 5-year average.