Oil prices steadied after three days of gains on Wednesday after industry data showed a surprise decline in U.S. crude inventories and tension over the disappearance of a prominent Saudi journalist stoked supply worries. “Numbers from the American Petroleum Institute surprised the market (on Tuesday), with U.S. crude oil inventories declining by 2.13 million barrels over the last week, compared to expectations of a stock build,” said ING commodities strategist Warren Patterson. A Reuters survey ahead of the API data had estimated crude stocks rose about 2.2 million barrels. U.S. gasoline stocks dropped by a larger-than-expected 3.4 million barrels, while distillate fuel stockpiles declined by a smaller-than-expected 246,000 barrels, the API data showed. Click read more below for additional detail.
National Average Price for Regular Unleaded – Current: $2.845; Month Ago: $2.866; Year Ago: $2.968. National Average Price for Diesel – Current: $3.100; Month Ago: $3.084; Year Ago: $3.206.
Brent crude oil slipped to a one-month low below $56 a barrel on Wednesday before steadying as a rally in the U.S. dollar and global oversupply weighed. The dollar hit a fresh 12-year high against the euro, gaining more than 1 percent to trade at $1.0561 against the single currency. The dollar index has rallied by 25 percent since last May, making commodities priced in the greenback more expensive for holders of other currencies. Russia's crude oil exports are also set to rise this year, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said, despite some expectations of a plunge in production due to lower prices following the crash from above $100 a barrel last year.
Brent crude oil reached 2019 highs above $65 per barrel on Friday, as OPEC-led supply cuts and the announcement of a higher-than-expected cut by Saudi Arabia this week encouraged investors. Top exporter and de facto OPEC leader Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it would cut over half a million barrels per day (bpd) more in March than the deal called for, sending prices surging. Prices were also buoyed by the partial closure of Saudi Arabia's Safaniya, its largest offshore oilfield with a production capacity of more than 1 million bpd. Click read more below for additional detail.