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Crude Oil Prices to Remain Bid as Overbought Conditions Persist

13 January 2018

EIA research shows that us gasoline prices tend to follow the price of the best grades of oil in Europe, more than they follow the price of the best USA crude. Part of the reason is that demand for diesel, a similar fuel, is increasing.

There are several reasons why oil markets have tightened. That will be the first time production has reached that level since 1970.

Because US production increases will need to compete for market share in Asia, the difference between Brent and WTI prices is supported by cost differences to get there. While India's oil demand may have disappointed by its 2017 demand growth-which was the slowest pace in four years-it was due to a fuel tax the government imposed to slow growth to a modest 2.3%. In December alone, production fell by an estimated 100,000 barrels per day to around 1.7 million. Regional summer price spikes can not be precisely predicted.The agency expects gasoline demand in 2018 to total about 9.3 million barrels a day this year, a level that would surpass all-time records set last year.

Crude oil production from the United States is expected to increase more than in any other country. However, this expected economic growth could be curtailed by any number of events.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, Brent crude, considered the global benchmark, was trading at $68.82 per barrel at the close of markets while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude ended at $62.96 per barrel. Two points of particular uncertainty are the USA trade enforcement plans against China that Washington is expected to unveil later this month and the direction NAFTA negotiations will take.

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The crude oil glut that many said would never go away is officially gone. The decline was mainly a result of the November 2016 OPEC production agreement that aimed to limit OPEC crude oil output to 32.5 million b/d. They see production this year at 10.27mbpd compared to 10.02m in their previous estimate.

The Energy Information Admin is out with its USA inventories report at 10:30 am ET.

The ongoing push to cut production should keep oil prices afloat over the near-term especially as US output falls back from fresh record-highs.

There are conflicting views about how sustainable the increase in USA production is, and to what extent it actually exists. These liquids are less valuable than gasoline and diesel to refiners and largely are destined to the export market, where they are sold relatively cheaply.

Giovanni Staunovo, a commodity analyst for UBS, told UPI there were a variety of factors apart from Trump's decision that were pulling oil prices into negative territory.

Crude Oil Prices to Remain Bid as Overbought Conditions Persist