Crude futures settled Thursday at multi-year lows on a stronger
US dollar and persistent concerns about oversupply.
NYMEX January crude settled down 57 cents at $34.95/b, lowest
front-month settle since February 2009. ICE February Brent settled
33 cents lower at $37.06/b, a low for prompt delivery not seen since
NYMEX January RBOB settled 2.88 cents higher at $1.2616/gal, helping
limit crude's declines.
US gasoline stocks remain relatively tight, sitting at 219.384
million barrels last week, a 1.1% deficit to a year ago, according
to the Energy Information Administration.
NYMEX January ULSD was nearly unchanged, settling down 69 points
The greenback gained ground Thursday against other major currencies
after Wednesday's announcement by the Federal Reserve to raise
interest rates for the first time in nine years.
The US dollar index was up 1.358 points at 99.229 points Thursday
afternoon, putting downward pressure on the oil complex.
Oversupply concerns lingered from weekly US government data
Wednesday that surprised the market with a 4.8 million-barrel build
in crude stocks.
Analysts surveyed Monday by Platts were looking for a decline of 2.5
million barrels compared with the previous week.
The increase was driven by greater imports and a slowdown in
refinery activity, running counter to historical trends for this
time of year.
"The import surge indicated the global market has plenty of barrels
available too," IAF Advisors principal Kyle Cooper said.
Warm weather across much of the US has lowered heating oil demand,
while imports have jumped on a relatively tight Brent/WTI spread.
The February ICE Brent/WTI spread was around 80 cents/b Thursday
afternoon, compared with Wednesday's settle of 64 cents/b.
For March delivery, Brent regained its premium over WTI Thursday
with the spread around 20 cents/b in the afternoon. The March ICE
Brent/WTI spread reached minus 90 cents/b Wednesday.
"The Brent-WTI spread is widening back out to some degree, but not
by enough to choke off the high rate of US imports that have
translated into a counter-seasonal increase in US commercial crude
stocks," Citi Futures and OTC Clearing analyst Tim Evans said in a
--Edited by Derek Sands,
© 2015 Platts, The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. All rights reserved.
To subscribe or visit go to: