Crude oil benchmarks, including WTI and Brent, are higher today. The commodity is rising as tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran (two of the world's leading crude oil producers) weigh on prices. Crude oil is also higher thanks to general weakness in the US dollar, and doubts regarding the future of the Iran nuclear deal. Earlier this week, Senator Bob Corker said that Trump will not extend sanctions waivers on Iran in May. This is likely to cripple Iran's ability to export crude oil, lowering global supply of the commodity. Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is currently touring the United States and will meet with US President Trump later today.
Turning to crude oil inventories, we'll get API figures later today. Consensus estimates are calling a for a significant build (+3.2m barrels) in crude stocks. Our short-term outlook is neutral, while our medium-term outlook on crude remains bullish.
WTI is currently trading above $62.60. Brent crude is currently above $66.50.
Looking at US crude oil stocks, the most recent EIA figures (March 4) showed rising crude oil stocks and falling gasoline inventories. Crude oil inventories were higher than estimates (+5.0m vs. +2.6m expected). Gasoline stocks were down (-6.2m vs. -1.6m expected) while distillate stocks (-4.4m vs. -1.3m expected) were down. Looking at reactions in markets, crude oil prices fell following the EIA report.
As crude oil runs out of steam, we are downgrading the commodity to neutral. Note that both WTI and Brent are trading within normal conditions. This is based on technical indicators on the daily chart.
As crude oil rebounds, we are upgrading the commodity to bullish in the medium-term. Looking at various technical indicators on the weekly chart, note that both WTI and Brent are trading within normal conditions.