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USA crude stockpiles fall for a fifth week to 2015 lows

24 September 2018

"We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices", Trump wrote on Twitter.

USA crude oil stockpiles fell for a fifth straight week to 3-1/2 year lows in the week to September 14, while gasoline inventories also showed a larger than expected draw on unseasonably strong demand, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. Domestic crude oil accounted for 19% of total East Coast crude inputs for the first six months of 2018, compared with 48% in the first six months of 2015, when the Brent-WTI price spread also averaged US$5/bbl.

Analysts argued that the continued drawdowns in oil stockpiles, even though we are past the summer driving season, are a result of increased USA crude oil exports, which have been supported by the widening differential between USA benchmark WTI prices and the global benchmark, Brent crude. "But we expect the tweets will come nonetheless as we head into the mid-terms".

Trump resumed his attacks on OPEC Thursday morning amid oil prices that have climbed to their highest level in two months.

Data from the InterContinental Exchange showed open interest in calls that give the owner the right to buy Brent futures at $80 and $85 by next week grew by almost 45 per cent on Monday and Tuesday to an equivalent of 54 million barrels of oil.

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Trump has consistently complained that oil prices are too high, following a significant uptick in prices that has been passed on at the pump to U.S. drivers.

U.S. sanctions on Iran are set to hit Tehran's oil sales on November 5, with S&P Global Platts Analytics forecasting that up to 1.4 million b/d of Iranian supplies will be shut-in.

The sanctions are a result of Trump pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and will essentially remove hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil from the market. "The goal is to keep oil prices below $80/b and preferably in the mid-$70s range until after the USA election". "The producers that count are producing at will" and Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation are likely to boost output further, he said. "But this is likely going to break very soon", said SEB Markets chief commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

USA sanctions on Iran's oil exports come into force on November 4 and many buyers have already scaled back Iranian purchases.

"As more evidence gathers that Iranian oil exports are heading sharply down, the more emboldened the oil market is likely to be to test, and breach this level".

USA crude stockpiles fall for a fifth week to 2015 lows