Crude oil futures are struggling to stay in positive territory after mixed API and EIA inventory reports. With crude oil builds likely to come across the month of January, the market is once again discounting most of the API draw in crude oil.
With total U.S. crude oil and refined product inventories already lower by more than 33 million barrels since the middle of October, if crude oil enters into a strong destocking pattern as evidenced by the API report, the current oil price rally is likely to extend further.
The oil market is getting foggier as the American Petroleum Institute reported 12.4 million barrels drawdown in supply. The market seemed to sense what was coming as the market rallied into the number and exploded afterwards. Yet this shocker caused a massive rally.
After surprisingly large draws in refined products in the API oil inventory report the market has turned the corner and has been trading higher since late yesterday afternoon. The market is in short covering rally ahead of today’s EIA oil inventory report.
Even the bulls are throwing in the towel, yet there may be signs that the crude collapse may slowdown just a bit. Still, oil is headed longer-term toward $88, a target we have had for weeks and now is looking more like we are going to be right on target.
The tale of two crudes this week with the spot WTI contract once again under strong selling pressure while the spot Brent contract is modestly higher. The Brent/WTI spread widened by more than 10% overnight.
The combo of a bearish U.S. crude oil inventory report on Monday followed by expectations for another large build in crude oil stocks in Wednesday’s EIA oil inventory report sent futures prices tumbling on expiration day for the November WTI contract.