On Wednesday (GMT+3), the US Energy Information Administration reported a large decrease of 8.02 million barrels in its crude oil inventories, bringing its current inventory to 413.7 million barrels. The numbers are far from the forecasted increase of 2.471 million barrels, and last week’s increase of 9.382 million. Meanwhile, gasoline inventories see a decrease of 800,000 barrels, while distillate inventories dropped 2.664 million.
Production has also increased in the US, with total oil and refined products exports increasing to 10.6 million barrels per day, outstripping the previous record of 10.13 million barrels per day last seen in 2019.
Crude prices have been edging up from Tuesday’s plunge since the news, with Brent trading at $108.02 per barrel and WTI at $103.35 per barrel at the time of writing. Despite the huge decrease in US crude inventories, a large amount of pressure on oil prices still come from the Russia-Ukraine war, as well as surging inflation worldwide. Both Brent and WTI dipped about 5% on Tuesday after the IMF cut its global growth forecast by almost 1%, with the warning that inflation was becoming a “clear and present danger”. Stagflation, or inflation accompanied by low or zero growth, threatens the global economy.
For now, news regarding oil prices continues to be mixed. The EU, which is largely reliant on Russian oil, is working to cut the fallouts from any Russian oil bans by increasing access to alternative supplies from other oil-producing countries. Much of the EU’s further policy on Russian energy hinges on Germany, which is the EU’s biggest economy and also one of Russia’s largest customers for crude.
As the world looks beyond Russia for oil, supply concerns have cropped up in other parts of the world. OPEC member Libya has seen a export decrease of 500,000 bpd due to political groups blockading major fields and export terminals.
Meanwhile, still-ongoing lockdowns in China’s most populous city, Shanghai, exerts downwards pressure on oil prices. However, pandemic-inflicted demand decreases continue to be far less significant than supply shortages, with the International Energy Agency warning that prices “remain troublingly high and are a serious threat for the global economic outlook.”
Investors are now advised to continue paying close attention to the 2022 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group, which is currently ongoing on will end on Sunday, 24 April.
As a friendly reminder, do keep an eye on market changes, control your positions, and manage your risk well.