API Report Limits Gains, but Surging China Crude Imports, US Sanctions Supportive

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West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery slid 42 cents to settle at $61.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Fuji Oil Co bought 1.5 million barrels of Oman crude, Banoco Arab Medium from Bahrain, and Upper Zakum, an Abu Dhabi grade, to load in June in a spot tender held last month, according to trade sources.

With U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela in place, analysts said global oil markets remained tight.

The sanctions have more than halved Iranian oil exports to 1 million barrels per day (bpd) or less.

However, Deshpande conceded that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had built up 3.3 million barrels of spare capacity via its output cuts, and that this would probably make up for any serious supply shortfalls in the near future. Crude from the US, an alternative exporter, comes at a hefty price.

Brent crude oil futures were at $71.28 per barrel at 0443 GMT, 4 cents above their last close, Reuters said.

While Iran's crude oil exports to India, at Rs 35,395 per tonne, were relatively cheap in 2018-19, the U.S.'s crude exports, at Rs 39,843, were among the most expensive.

Israel and Hamas Reach Cease-fireCOLlive
Israel observes Memorial Day and Independence Day this week, and next week Tel Aviv will play host to the Eurovision Song Contest. Egypt and the United Nations, who have served as brokers in the past, had been trying to mediate a truce.

Earlier this week, data showing a surprise drop in US crude inventories also buoyed prices.

Russia's Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel), the world's largest palladium and refined nickel producer, says it expects palladium demand to exceed supply for another three to four years.

While Iraq is India's top-supplier of crude oil since 2017-18, these has been a sudden jump of 288% in imports from the US since 2017-19.

This compared to a hefty 9.9-million-barrel inventory build last week, which pressured prices substantially, adding to already significant pressure from rising production in the USA and elsewhere that countered concern about lost Iranian supply.

"After 20 years of having their way with the U.S., China still appears to be miscalculating with this administration". -China trade dispute upset risk appetite, boosting demand for safe-haven assets.

"Alternative supplies to Iranian oil for Japan are likely to come mainly from the Middle East given the existing supply chains", Takayuki Uematsu, senior executive officer at Cosmo Energy Holdings Co Ltd, told an earnings news conference on Thursday.

Prices may not rise very quickly, but there shouldn't be a steep sell-off either, unless the 200-day moving average fails as support and actually becomes resistance. Analysts had expected an increase of 1.2 million barrels.