U.S. News

Oil Pares Losses, Below 10-Month Highs After Data


Oil eased on Wednesday, after an unexpected drawdown in crude oil inventories in top consumer the United States helped the market pare earlier losses.

U.S. light sweet crude (delayed) was volatile on the data results, while London Brent crude was down. It hit an 11-month high of $76.63 on Tuesday, the highest since August 10.

Weekly data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a 1.4 million barrel fall in crude oil stockpiles last week, when analysts had predicted a rise.

Despite calls from consumer nations for more oil, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is showing no sign of easing output restraint.

Top exporter Saudi Arabia has told its major customers and refiners in Asia and Europe that it will not relent on its oil export curbs next month.

The kingdom's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said there was a good balance between supply and demand, but tightness in supply of refined oil products such as gasoline, plus international political tensions were helping to push prices higher.

"You can't put oil on the market without a buyer," he told reporters in Warsaw. "Nobody today is looking for additional crude because all you have to do is look at the level of inventories which are in a very, very comfortable position."

Qatar's Energy Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said on Wednesday OPEC could do nothing about the high price of oil.

Energy analysts have said speculative and institutional money pouring into crude oil futures is a major factor in Brent's more than $6 rise since late July and in U.S. crude's advance towards $73.

"With speculative funds having close to record long positions, volatility is ahead as WTI (U.S. crude) is clearly in their hands," said Olivier Jakob, of oil consultancy Petromatrix.