Economy

WTI: The $54 holds high after supply glut regains market attention

WTI: The $54 holds high after supply glut regains market attention

More stringent sanctions on Venezuela that bar companies that do business with PDVSA from accessing the USA financial system resemble Washington's measures on Iran, ANZ Banking Group said.

Crude oil prices on Thursday showed a softer outlook with investors concerned about the direction of the global economy, and following only limited support after the latest United States inventory report showed a modest build. The government's official supply report is due later on Wednesday.

Last week, the Energy Information Administration issued a bullish weekly report on US inventories after it revealed crude stockpiles rose by less than 1 million barrels last week, compared to expectations of a 3.1 million-barrel rise.

As of 8:40 a.m. EST, West Texas Intermediate prices were 0.3 percent lower at $53.48 per barrel, compared with 0.3 percent lower at $61.80 per barrel for Brent crude futures.

International Brent crude oil futures fell 39 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $62.30 per barrel.

The sanctions will sharply limit oil transactions between Venezuela and other countries and are similar to but slightly less extensive than those imposed on Iran previous year, experts said on Friday after looking at details posted by the Treasury Department. Concern about potentially slowing demand for crude oil has contributed to price reductions.

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Countering the rising U.S. crude output and inventories are voluntary supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) aimed at tightening the market and propping up prices. -China trade dispute have also weighed on the market.

Yet some investors believe these concerns may be overblown, in light of the decline in OPEC production and a squeeze on supply from Iran and Venezuela from United States sanctions.

The move ratcheted up pressure on Maduro to cede power to National Assembly leader Juan Guaido, who the USA and European allies have recognized as Venezuela's rightful president. Oil prices fell on Tuesday after a survey showed euro zone business expansion almost stalled in January.

"The global oil supply/demand balance could shift from a current significant surplus to zero at the end of the year", Jean-Pierre Durante, an analyst at Pictet Wealth Management, wrote in a report, if producers comply with the decision and extend it until December.

Saudi Arabia's exports to the U.S. finished 2018 at just 530,000 barrels per day, a massive drop from the 940,000 overage over the last five years.


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