Oil Rises as Falling U.S. Stockpiles Offset Bolton’s Ouster


Oil tankers are anchored near the Port of Long Beach, California, U.S., on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009. A surplus of idled oil tankers, which would stretch 26 miles if lined up end to end, may signal a 25 percent slump in freight rates this year. The ships will unload 26 percent of the crude and oil products they are storing in six months, adding to vessel supply and pushing rates for supertankers down to an average of $30,000 a day, compared with $40,212 now.

Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

Oil rose as industry data showed a decline in American stockpiles, countering speculation that the ouster of U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton may lead to a less hawkish approach on Iran and Venezuela.

Futures added as much as 1.6% in New York, after dipping 0.8% on Tuesday. The American Petroleum Institute reported a 7.23 million-barrel weekly drop in
crude inventories
, according to people familiar with the figures. That’s a steeper decline than forecast in a Bloomberg survey, ahead of government data due later Wednesday.

An industry report shows a decline in U.S. crude stockpiles

Oil is still down about 12% from its peak in April as a deepening trade dispute between the U.S. and China dents the
global demand
outlook. Prices fell on Tuesday — halting a four-day gain — after Bolton’s exit gave the market some supply comfort. Yet the API’s stockpile data prompted a rebound.

“Oil prices are regaining some ground this morning as attention shifts to U.S. oil inventories,” PVM Oil Associates analyst Stephen Brennock wrote in a report.

West Texas Intermediate oil for October delivery rose 50 cents, or 0.9%, to $57.90 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 8:39 a.m. New York time.

Brent for November settlement increased 60 cents, or 1%, to $62.98 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The global benchmark traded at a $5.16 premium to WTI for the same month.

See also: Bolton Exit Shifts Outlook in Oil Market Roiled by Sanctions

U.S. crude stockpiles fell to about 423 million barrels in the week through Aug. 30, the lowest since October 2018, according to government data. A Bloomberg analyst survey shows the level shrinking by a further 2.9 million barrels last week, which would be a fourth weekly drop if confirmed by Energy Information Administration data on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he
Bolton after disagreeing with many of his positions. His adviser’s departure may be “a catalyst for a material de-escalation in the Iran standoff” and could bring back around 700,000 barrels a day of Iranian crude, possibly by the first quarter, said RBC Capital Markets’ Global Head of Commodity Strategy Helima Croft. Iran’s output has slumped 42% since May 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Other oil-market news:
  • Brent crude
    could sink
    toward levels not seen since December 2018, prompting deeper output cuts from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, according to Trafigura Beheer BV.
  • Key members from the
    OPEC+ coalition
    gather Thursday in Abu Dhabi to discuss their production pact. Russia’s energy minister said there are no plans to talk about deeper output cuts at the meeting.

  • OPEC
    cautioned producers not to pump too much crude against the backdrop of waning global economic growth.
  • OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo
    Saudi Arabia’s new oil minister had assured him of no change in the kingdom’s policy toward the cartel.
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