Crude oil benchmarks are mostly flat this morning after strengthening yesterday. While the ongoing demonstrations in Iran helped prices yesterday, there are few drivers for the commodity today. Previous issues such as the Forties pipeline shutdown and Libya's Waha pipeline shutdown have been resolved. Looking at WTI and Brent, prices remain close to highs last achieved in 2015. In general, crude oil remains supported thanks to strong global demand and OPEC/Russian efforts to limit supply. Despite strong fundamentals, concerns including US supply and a potential slowdown in Chinese demand remain the market's key worries. Yesterday, we wrote that speculator sentiment for the long crude oil trade looks very stretched. Our short-term and medium-term trending indicators remain bullish.
WTI is currently trading above $60.30. Brent crude is currently above $66.40.
Looking at US crude oil stocks, the most recent EIA figures (December 28) showed falling crude oil stocks and rising gasoline inventories. Crude oil inventories were lower than estimates (-4.6m vs. -4m expected). Gasoline stocks were up (+0.6m vs. +1.5m expected) while distillate stocks (+1.1m vs. -0.8m expected) were lower. Looking at reactions in markets, crude oil prices were mixed following the EIA report.