What Does the API, EIA and Egypt Have In Common? Crude Oil

What Does the API, EIA and Egypt Have In Common?  Crude Oil
What Does the API, EIA and Egypt Have In Common? Crude Oil
Crude oil remains high at 105.53 easing by 17 cents this morning. Crude continues to remain well over priced as political tensions in Egypt continue to stress markets. Global fundamentals do not support a rise in prices, in fact just the opposite the price of crude should be falling as production increases around the globe with US production hitting record levels. Growth around the globe continues to ease. The US is now aiming at a GDP for 2013 at just 2% while Chinese GDP continues to fall, after being downgraded recently from 8% to 7.6% then to 7.5% and now could come in as low as 6.5%. Demand for crude oil continues to tumble.

Yesterday crude oil for the August settlement at the NYMEX closed on the lower side of the intra-day trading range, with most of the loss occurring late in the North American session due to the mixed inventory report from the American Petroleum Institute. NYMEX oil closed at $106 per barrel, down nearly 0.3%. Brent for September managed a moderate upside closing, higher by 0.1% to 108.10 per barrel.

According to the overall trend in crude prices, traders have been witnessing sustained climb in prices backed by higher demand from the US due the summer driving season and to issues pertaining to political unrest in Egypt. Higher demand in the US has also led to a significant drawdown in crude stockpiles, especially in the two continuous weeks ending 5th July, 2013. US government data showed the total oil stockpiles slipped around 20 million barrels, its steepest two-week drop in inventories in 30 years.

Egypt’s new government appointed a cabinet of secular-leaning ministers on Tuesday, over the objection of the ousted president’s supporters, adding to the once-powerful Islamists’ political isolation amid a rash of deadly street violence. According to the Wall Street Journal absence of Islamists in the cabinet, coupled with the Brotherhood’s continuing anger over Mr. Morsi’s ouster and the arrest of several high-level Brotherhood officials, all serve to deepen the group’s isolation and threaten to exacerbate the new government’s shaky footing. The latest street violence began Monday night when hundreds of Mr. Morsi’s mostly Islamist supporters burned tires to block traffic on the 6th of October bridge, a major artery that connects downtown Cairo with the suburb of Giza.

While traders focus remains on Mr. Bernanke and his testimony before congress over the next two days and the possibility of tapering of monetary stimulus leaves the dollar weakened but moving up to 82.76 after tumbling earlier in the week, after trading as high as 84.8 last week.

The API said yesterday that the total stockpiles fell 2.6 million barrels though gasoline and distillate inventories advanced, negating the overall increase in cumulative stockpiles. In other major developments, the Department of Energy is expected to show the total crude inventories fall of around 1.5 million barrels for the week ended July 12.

 

 

Crude Oil & Natural Gas Seem Confused

Crude Oil & Natural Gas Looking Seem Confused
Crude Oil & Natural Gas Looking Seem Confused

Crude oil is trading at $105.58 this morning down by 34 cents and natural gas is trading in the red, but only by a few pips. Energy demand remains weak, with Chinese data disappointing markets. With a slowdown in growth in one of the world’s largest consumers of oil and energy products demand is falling but prices remain high due to the political situation in the Middle East, primarily Egypt. As tensions lower below the boiling point and the military seems to have a tight control, stress over the situation eases as oil falls from its peak last week at $107.

Crude oil edged down in thin trade, , as the market digested mixed economic and industry data from the United States and China, the world’s biggest oil consumers. China’s annual GDP growth slowed to 7.5 percent in the second quarter of 2013, the ninth quarter in the last 10 that the rate has fallen, official data showed. However, China’s implied oil demand rebounded in June to the highest in four months as refineries returned from maintenance. In the United States, data showed retail sales rose less than expected in June, adding to signs of a slowdown in economic growth, while a separate report showed the New York Federal Reserve’s “Empire State” general business conditions index rose, indicating expansion in the region’s factories. Citigroup analysts revised upward its 2013 and 2014 price forecasts for crude oil, saying the market looked to be in good shape as refiners emerge from maintenance and global “refining throughput heads to its summer peaks.

While the data seeped high volatility into the crude oil prices, overall optimism about the economy and bullishness owing to oil’s own fundamentals drove it to end in the green on Monday. The US dollar is trading almost flat this morning at $83.18 having little effect on oil prices. Today trader will see economic data in Europe and the US, which might have a small effect on prices. Major economic data today which oil could react to include the euro-zone’s ZEW economic sentiments data, which was seen to be broadly improving, whereas the regions trade balance data will also be important. In the North American session, US Consumer Prices are expected to rise while gains might also seen in the industrial production number.

U.S. natural gas ended higher yesterday on warmer weather outlook for this week. Natural Gas is expected to move up as strong air conditioning demand can support prices. Front-month gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange ended up 3 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $3.667 per million British thermal units, after swinging between $3.546 and $3.689. Natural gas futures recovered from early losses to close slightly higher on NYMEX, as traders weighed mixed signals on fuel demand. Prices touched a 2-week low in intra-day trading before closing higher.

Morning Metals Markets

Morning Metals Markets
Morning Metals Markets
This morning, most of the Asian equities are trading higher on hopes of policy makers across the globe maintaining the monetary stimulus to support economic growth. The euro is trading a stronger note at 1.3097 with a positive pound and yen while the dollar index is on a weaker note at 82.78.

Gold and silver futures rallied sharply on Thursday to tally a 4-session gain as the dollar traded sharply lower after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said US interest rates will remain low to aid economic growth. Gold holdings of SPDR gold trust, the largest ETF backed by the precious metal, declined to 939.07 tons, as on July 10. Silver holdings of ishares silver trust, the largest ETF backed by the metal, increased to 10,124.98 tons, as on July 10. Gold prices internationally are expected to remain in range to lower as subdued physical demand and continued outflows from ETF’s can keep a check on prices.

Gold closed higher for a fourth day in a row yesterday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke indicated that the Fed would continue its easy-money policies for some time. The July contract for gold rose $32.70, or 2.6 percent, to $1,280.10 an ounce. Gold has risen 5.5 percent this week. Gold bulls welcomed remarks from Bernanke late Wednesday indicating that the Fed is not about to pull back on its support for the U.S. economy any time soon. The Fed’s policies of keeping interest rates low and buying bonds have supported gold prices. In other metals, September silver rose 4.1 percent to $19.96 an ounce. The metal fell 23 percent to $1,285.14 an ounce in London this year. Prices climbed 8.9 percent since reaching $1,180.50 on June 28. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities declined 0.9 percent since the start of January and the MSCI All-Country World Index of equities rose 9 percent. Treasuries lost 2.8 percent, a Bank of America Corp. index shows.

Gold as much as doubled from 2008 to a record $1,921.15 in September 2011 as the U.S. central bank, which currently buys $85 billion of bonds a month, led nations in cutting rates and purchasing debt. The U.S. Dollar Index, a measure against six major trading partners, slid from a three-year high after Bernanke said two days ago that “highly accommodative monetary policy for the foreseeable future” is still required. Silver followed gold’s cues and is trading at 19.947

Industrial metals prices hit their highest in nearly a month yesterday after the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman signaled a commitment to monetary stimulus for the foreseeable future, helping boost appetite for risky assets.

Copper futures closed at a 3-week high, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said continued easy-money policies were necessary to prop up US economic growth. Copper futures for Sept. delivery closed up by 2.8% at $3.1775 on the COMEX division of the NYMEX.

Weak Dollar and Lower Supplies Help Crude Oil Climb To Recent Highs

Weak Dollar and Lower Supplies Help Crude Oil Climb To Recent Highs
Weak Dollar and Lower Supplies Help Crude Oil Climb To Recent Highs
WTI crude oil prices surged nearly $3 per barrel on Wednesday, to their highest in 16-months, narrowing its discount to Brent crude to less than $2, after US data showed the biggest 2-week decline in crude stockpiles on record. Crude oil prices advanced 2.24% against the USD for the 24 hour period ending after the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in its weekly report indicated that crude stock piles in the US dropped by 9.87 million barrels in the week ended July 5. Crude oil is expected to find support at 104.72, and a fall through could take it to the next support level of 103.13. Crude oil is expected to find its first resistance at 107.43, and a rise through could take it to the next resistance level of 108.55.

A report from The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries forecasting rising global demand in 2014 also helped boost prices. The Vienna-based group said it expected additional global demand to reach 1 million barrels a day next year, compared to an annual increase of around 800,000 barrels a day in 2013.

“Next year’s forecast for world oil demand is subject to uncertainties linked closely to the pace of the recovery in some major economies, particularly the U.S. and eurozone, and GDP growth in China,” OPEC said in its monthly report on oil markets. “In addition, oil demand growth in 2014 could be capped by the implementation of policies targeting energy efficiency in transportation, as well as subsidies in some countries.”

At the same time, OPEC said demand for crude from its members would be slightly lower in 2014 than now, dropping to an average of 29.6 million barrels a day in 2014 from 29.9 million barrels a day this year. The difference is expected to be made up by supplies non-OPEC producers.

Oil prices were also supported by a weaker dollar — which makes crude cheaper for traders using other currencies — and the political crisis in Egypt. While Egypt is not an oil producer, it controls the Suez Canal, a critical channel for oil and gas shipments from the Middle East.

Natural gas futures closed higher on NYMEX for the second time in 3-days, amid forecasts for above-normal temperatures that would boost air conditioner use. Natural gas is trading at 3.655 giving back 11 points after the dollar eased and weather forecasts fluctuate between hot or moderate over the next week. Natural gas trimmed early gains but still ended slightly higher on Wednesday, underpinned by light buying ahead of Thursday’s weekly inventory report and forecasts for more heat in the Northeast and Midwest next week. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Wednesday called on the Energy Dept. to speed up its planned review process for proposals to ship U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) abroad.

Crude Oil Climbs Above $104 On API Inventory And Middle Eastern Tensions

Crude Oil Climbs Above $104 On API Inventory And Middle Eastern Tensions
Crude Oil Climbs Above $104 On API Inventory And Middle Eastern Tensions
Global crude oil prices inched higher on Wednesday after American Petroleum Institute data showed a much sharper-than-expected fall in US crude stocks. The API data, which was released after Tuesday’s settlement, showed US crude stocks fell by 9 million barrels last week. Fears that violence in Egypt could ignite conflict in the broader Middle East, which pumps a third of the world’s oil, continued to support oil prices. Crude oil is trading at 104.33 up 80 cents this morning.

Geopolitical tensions continue to keep prices high with crude showing little attention the IMF growth downgrade and Chinese data. China imported 138.17 million metric tons of crude oil in the first half of 2013, equivalent to 5.6 million barrels a day, preliminary data from the General Administration of Customs showed Wednesday. China’s crude imports in the first half of 2013 were 1.4% lower than the same period in 2012, preliminary data showed. Meanwhile, China imported 22.17 million metric tons of crude just in June, according to the data. June imports were 2.1% higher than the 21.72 million tons of crude shipped in the same month last year, and down around 7.4% from 23.95 million tons in May, according to Dow Jones Newswire’s calculation. June refined oil-product imports totaled 3.28 million tons, while exports totaled 1.99 million tons, the data showed.

Chinese exports fell last month by 3.1% from a year earlier, swinging from May’s slim 1% gain, and coming in well below a forecast 4% rise from a survey of economists. It marked the first year-on-year drop for exports since January 2012, and according to the Financial Times was the worst performance since October 2009. Imports decreased by 0.7% after slipping 0.3% in May.

The International Monetary Fund has slashed its 2014 growth forecast for China. Updating its April World Economic Outlook, the IMF downgraded its world growth forecast for this year and next, driven to a large extent by “appreciably weaker” domestic demand and slower growth in several key emerging market economies. The eurozone is also expected to suffer a more protracted recession than earlier predicted. The IMF urged policymakers everywhere to increase efforts to ensure robust growth.

A shift in global production could have a serious effect on crude prices. West Texas Intermediate oil averaged $31 per barrel in 2003, which, even in real terms, is only about 2/5 of today’s prices. Analysts at Morgan Stanley estimate that the break-even point for crude oil is about $70 per barrel and that even a price of $85 per barrel could squeeze out many of the unconventional producers. Keep in mind that oil is a global commodity. Roughly two million barrels of oil per day that have entered the market from the U.S. fracking boom represent a big shift domestically but only just over 2 percent of global oil consumption. Fundamentally prices should be trading lower as supply increases while demand falls.

Traders will watch today’s EIA inventory release closely after the API release yesterday. The climb in oil prices beyond the $104 level came after the American Petroleum Institute said crude supplies fell 9 million barrels for the week ended July 5. A survey of analysts had projected a decline of 3.8 million barrels.

Crude Eases As Middle East Stablizes

Crude Eases As Middle East Stablizes
Crude Eases As Middle East Stablizes
Light sweet crude oil is trading at 1.0305 easing late yesterday and this morning. Crude prices were down as supply disruptions in Middle East eased after news that Libya’s major oilfield Sharara would resume operations which were shut last month. Also, a pipeline from Iraq to the Turkish port of Ceyhan will resume operations which were halted due to a leak. Egypt is expected to hold parliamentary elections in 6 months after amendments to the suspended constitution. Traders can expect crude oil prices to go down as supply concerns have eased with no disruptions at ports and shipping through the Suez Canal in Egypt.

At the beginning of the week crude oil extended gains to hit a 14-month high above $104 a barrel early on Monday, after posting their biggest weekly gain in a year last week, as better-than-expected U.S. jobs data fuelled hopes for increased economic activity and tensions in Egypt remain high.

Money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions in the week to July 2, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said on Monday. U.S. commercial crude oil stocks likely fell for a second consecutive week in the seven days to July 5 due to lower imports and higher refinery activity, a Reuter’s poll of seven analysts showed on Monday.

Nymex crude oil prices traded on a mixed note in yesterday’s trade and declined marginally around 0.1 percent after sharp rise in oil prices was seen. However, on the fundamental front prices still has support on the unrest in Egypt which raised the supply concerns from the Middle East. Crude oil prices touched an intra-day high of $104 closed at $103.1 in yesterday’s trading session.  

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is scheduled to release its weekly inventories today and US crude oil inventories are expected to decline by 3.3 million barrels for the week ending on 5th July 2013. Gasoline stocks are expected to gain by 1.2 million barrels and distillate inventories are expected to shoot up by 1.3 million barrels for the same week.

U.S. natural gas prices rose on Monday due to extended forecasts for warmer weather improving the demand prospects for gas. Natural Gas is expected to move up as improved demand and rising supply concerns over storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean can support prices. Front-month gas futures on the NYMEX closed up 12.4 cents, or 3.4 percent, at $3.741. Huge natural gas finds in the eastern Mediterranean mean the European Union could bolster its energy security partly through new supply from within the EU, though high extraction costs make lower gas bills unlikely. With the US beginning to open the door to exports, US natural gas will begin to re-priced on global demand and supply similar to crude oil.

Middle East Uncertainties Pressurize Crude Oil Pirces

Middle East Uncertainties Pressurize Crude Oil Pirces
Middle East Uncertainties Pressurize Crude Oil Pirces
Crude oil eased slightly this morning as traders took advantage of the sharp climb to book profits and also the strong US dollar is weighing on the commodity, but nothing seems to stand in the path of the worries traders are feeling over events in Egypt and their effects on regional stability, where Syria remains at civil war and Turkey continues to see the protests in the street grow. WTI oil prices rose as high as $102.18, the highest they’ve been in over a year, before settling at $101.24 a barrel, 1.7% higher.

While oil production from Egypt is almost non-existent, the country controls the Suez Canal and pipeline, which move about 4 million barrels of oil per day. Plus, the country is one of the largest and most powerful in the Middle East and North Africa — home to about a third of the world’s oil production. With Egypt on the verge of a meltdown, fears of supply disruptions will likely drive oil prices higher.

 Protesters in Egypt have been demanding the country’s democratically elected Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, step down, saying he has not governed the country in an inclusive manor. On Wednesday evening, the Egyptian military said Morsi was no longer president. At this time it is understood that President Morsi is under military house detention at “The Club”.

Mori is not in any danger and the military says this is not a coup and they are not seeking power, but responding to the inactions of the President and the demands of the people. The military has placed the Constitutional Judge in office and he is expected to appoint a technocratic government to lead Egypt representing all peoples and factions equally leaving government out of politics until new elections can be held. The deposing of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi by the military Wednesday likely freezes any chance for an International Monetary Fund bailout for the ailing economy until an internationally-recognized government is installed.

In recent months, a handful of neighboring countries such as Qatar have been keeping Egypt’s economy afloat by loaning the country’s central bank cash. That has bought Morsi government time to delay implementing the politically-sensitive measures the IMF has sought as a precondition before it gives Cairo a $4.8 billion credit line. In particular, the IMF had said that Egypt must raise taxes and begin phasing out fuel subsidies.

On the fundamental side a stronger than expected recovery in the US has pushed crude prices as demand is expected to increase. PMI’s in Europe surprised markets printing better than forecast. The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported that U.S. crude-oil supplies dropped by 10.3 million barrels for the week ended June 28. Analysts polled by Platts were looking for a 3-million-barrel decline. The American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reported a drop of more than 9 million barrels in stockpiles. Gasoline supplies also declined by 1.7 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles fell 2.4 million barrels, the EIA said. Gasoline stockpiles were expected to rise by 1 million barrels, while forecasts called for an increase of 1.3 million barrels for distillates.

Worldwide Oil Price Climb On Strong Manufacturing

Worldwide Oil Price Climb On Strong Manufacturing
Worldwide Oil Price Climb On Strong Manufacturing
Worldwide oil prices settled higher on Monday, recovering slightly from losses suffered earlier in the day. Though a decline in China’s manufacturing activity weighed on prices, positive Japanese Tankan survey data provided some support. Crude oil is trading at 97.92 after closing yesterday at 97.99.

After reporting a contraction in U.S. manufacturing activity in the previous month, the Institute for Supply Management released a report on Monday showing that manufacturing activity expanded by a little more than expected in June. The ISM said its purchasing manager’s index climbed to 50.9 in June from 49.0 in May, with a reading above 50 indicating an increase in manufacturing activity. Economists had been expecting the index to edge up to a reading of 50.5. British manufacturing recorded its strongest growth in more than two years in June and new orders rose even faster, in a fresh sign of momentum in the economy just as the Bank of England gets a new governor. The Markit/CIPS Manufacturing PMI jumped to 52.5 from an upwardly revised 51.5 in May, data showed, beating analysts’ forecasts for a reading of 51.5.

A key survey of euro zone manufacturing suggested the bloc’s economy had stabilized and would probably grow this quarter, raising hopes of a revival in European oil demand. The more upbeat European survey balanced PMIs from China and India showing signs of cooling economic growth. China’s official PMI report was better than expected.

Eurozone inflation accelerated to 1.6% in June from 1.4% in May, Eurostat said. Despite the speed-up, inflation for the eurozone is still far from the rate of 2.4% it reached in June 2012. The rise was mainly due to an increase in energy prices. The euro climbed to trade at 1.306 with the US dollar trading at 83.23 in the green on Tuesday morning

WTI traded near the highest level in more than a week on speculation U.S. crude stockpiles shrank for the first time in a month, signaling increased demand in US. Investors were also awaiting cues on energy supplies from a weekly report on U.S. crude-oil stockpiles. Figures were due today from the American Petroleum Institute, with a report from the Energy Information Administration slated for Wednesday. U.S. commercial crude-oil stocks likely fell 3 million barrels in the week ended June 28, according to a survey of analysts. The projected fall would be “in line with seasonal norms, as shown by the week-on-week change in the Energy Information Administration’s five-year average,”

Markets were watching the US Federal Reserve nervously for indications on the future of its bond-buying program, which analysts say has helped support commodities. A top Fed official signaled the US central bank may move to roll back its bond purchases in its September meeting, a move that could strengthen the dollar. But the timing will also depend on the US labor market, and investors are waiting for more clues from a job report on Friday.

 

 

Gold, Silver & Copper All Climb To Start Off The New Month

Gold, Silver & Copper All Climb To Start Off The New Month
Gold, Silver & Copper All Climb To Start Off The New Month
Gold climbed more than 2 percent on Friday on end-of-quarter short-covering, but the precious metal still posted its largest quarterly loss in at least 45 years due to selling amid fears the U.S. Federal Reserve may wind down its stimulus program. Some investors aggressively bought back their bearish bets on fears gold could rebound, while others squared their books on the last trading day of a dismal second quarter after Thursday’s 2 percent drop. Gold ended up balancing Thursday and Friday’s trading and closing at $1223. This morning gold is climbing, adding $16.75 to trade at 1240.

This week is likely to be crucial for gold prices on the back of economic releases from the US and Europe, also open interest in COMEX gold has declined while volumes have increased, which indicates investors are short selling combined with the RBA meeting scheduled for Tuesday and the ECB meeting on Thursday.

The week is starting off focusing on Chinese data. China’s state-owned mining company has said mining production is expected to increase in the coming quarter, which would increase the supply of gold in line with the current demand. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for June retreated to 48.2, the lowest level since September 2012 and down from May’s final reading of 49.2. It was in line with a preliminary reading of 48.3 released on June 20. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction of activities while one above shows expansion. The government’s official PMI report which is often at odds with the HSBC report was less dour. It showed the index slipping to 50.1 in June from 50.8 in May, but still holding above the 50-point threshold that indicates growth.

Hedge funds and other large speculators this week cut their bet on higher gold prices to the lowest level in almost six years, according to data released Friday by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Gold prices fell 23% during the three months ended in June, the biggest decline since the U.S. gold futures trading began in the 1970s.  

Many of the reasons to hold gold have evaporated, traders and analysts said. The U.S. economy is improving, and inflation hasn’t materialized after the Federal Reserve’s stimulus efforts. Europe’s banking system has stabilized.

Copper and the London Metal Exchange Index of six primary metals headed for the biggest quarterly declines since September 2011 amid as signs of slowing in China and uncertainty about the future of stimulus in the U.S. Metal for delivery in three months on the LME dropped as much as 1.3 percent to $6,660.50 a metric ton and was at $6,753.50. Silver is trading at 19.675 climbing nicely after being trapped in the upper $18 price late last week. Silver has gained over 20 cents this morning along with copper which is trading at 3.068 up 10 points.

 

Crude Oil Prices Not Supported By Fundamentals

 

Crude Oil Prices Not Supported By Fundamentals
Crude Oil Prices Not Supported By Fundamentals
Crude oil will see the bulls in action on signs that the US economy is recovering. Asian trade saw Brent oil August contracts rising to $103.09, while West Texas Intermediate crude contracts for the same month were up at $97.27 a barrel.  Crude oil futures closed higher for the fourth session in a row, after a set of encouraging economic reports that showed US jobless claims declined last week while consumer spending increased last month.

The euro-zone’s economic confidence has improved along with industrial confidence while consumer confidence and service confidence declined. This supported gains in the European equities and the euro. The euro settled at 1.3038 against the dollar, up 0.20% The US’ personal income has increased along with spending while the jobless claims remained higher. The dollar index fell 0.09% against the major currencies and settled at 82.902 but climbed in overnight trading above the 83 price level and is holding at 83.11 this morning. Gold tumbled below the 1200 price level as traders sentiment shifted with low inflation and a global economic recovery underway.  This shift in sentiment is supporting crude prices as there has been little in the way of fundamentals to support price increases.

Crude oil steadied above $95 a barrel yesterday, clinging to most of the gains from the previous session after weaker than estimated U.S. economic growth allayed worries the Federal Reserve will curb stimulus soon.

Crude oil production in Texas has jumped by a third in just 12 months, government figures showed on Thursday, with booming output driven by the Eagle Ford shale fields and Permian Basin now outpacing growth in North Dakota. South Sudan expects a first oil shipment of 1 million barrels to sail from Sudan’s Port Sudan terminal on Saturday, despite a threat from Khartoum to halt cross-border flows, its oil minister said on Thursday.

Global oil production continues to climb, while growth estimates around the globe decline. China yesterday revised their estimates for 2013 to 7.5% down from 7.7% last month and off the 7.9% estimate just a few months back. The U.S. Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported that U.S. crude-oil supplies held steady for the week ended June 21 at 394.1 million barrels. Analysts polled by Platts were looking for a 2 million-barrel decline. Gasoline supplies rose by 3.7 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles increased by 1.6 million barrels, the EIA said. Gasoline stockpiles were expected to gain by 1 million barrels, and forecasts also called for a rise of 1 million barrels for distillates.

Traders should expect a decline in oil prices when traders take a good hard look at the fundamental.

Traders Dump Gold At Record Rates

Traders Dump Gold At Record Rates
Traders Dump Gold At Record Rates
This morning gold did the unthinkable and fell below the support line at the 1200 price to trade at 1199.25 giving up $12.35 in the Asian session. Gold fell to its lowest since August 2010 and is on track to record its worst quarter since at least 1968 on persistent worries over the US Federal Reserve’s plan to wind down its monetary stimulus. Bullion has taken a beating since the beginning of last week – down 15 per cent or over $200 an ounce – after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke laid out a strategy to wind down the bank’s $85 billion monthly bond purchases on the back of a recovering economy.

US Federal Reserve Chairman has said that any pruning of the $85-billion monthly program to boost economy will depend on various economic parameters that will emerge in the next few months. However, the emerging data could lead to whetting down of the stimulus package. The recovery of gold by over $12 means Asia finds value in buying at current levels. But there should be little doubt that the bears have their grips firm on the precious metal and it could take a while before they loosen. If US GDP numbers have held promise to stop gold from falling on Thursday, the jobs data have given a stick to nay-sayers to beat gold.  The question is how long physical buying can continue, particularly in the face of investors and hedge funds fleeing the yellow metal. The lower prices have failed to boost physical demand in Asia, traditionally the biggest buyer of gold, and investors have continued to flee exchange-traded gold funds. Gold futures extended its decline below $1,200 per ounce in late electronic trade on Thursday, as soothing talks from Federal Reserve officials boosted other markets, but failed to stem a stampede out of gold. Gold holdings of SPDR gold trust, the largest ETF backed by the precious metal, declined to 969.5 tons, as on June 27. Silver holdings of ishares silver trust, the largest ETF backed by the metal, increased to 9,905.88 tons, as on June 27. Investors are shedding the commodity in record numbers. ETF have witnesses one of their busiest days in recent history.

The ICE dollar index, which measures the US unit against six other major currencies, swung to slight gains and losses all day. The index fell slightly to 82.901 in recent trade compared with 82.964 on late Wednesday. This morning the dollar is trading well into the 83.00 price level at 83.11. The stronger the US Dollar the weaker gold. Today’s economic calendar releases will not be important enough to move the commodity or currency markets, with the marquee event being the Michigan Consumer Confidence report due later in the day. With the month drawing to its close gold will show the largest monthly drop in recent times.

Silver has diverged from gold this morning gaining over 19 cents to trade at 18.748 as investors take advantage of the low price to buy up on the cheap. Also assurances from the People’s Bank of China helped give industrial metals a boost. Copper is trading flat this morning also at 3.048. Concerns over a credit crunch and economic growth in China also weighed on investors. China’s central bank is squeezing funds out of the money market, forcing banks to borrow money at historic interest rate levels. This morning the PBOC said that it would make sure that credit is available to the banks, this is a move to rein in the famous “shadow” banks.

Oil & Gas Are Trading In The Green

Oil & Gas Are Trading In The Green
Oil & Gas Are Trading In The Green

Crude oil futures were trading higher this morning due to weakness in the dollar. NYMEX crude oil futures edged lower today due to profit booking and firm dollar against the euro. The dollar later eased down as the euro climbed and crude oil recovered to trade at 95.95.

Crude oil prices recovered from early losses after the US Energy Information Administration said domestic oil inventories were flat last week and gasoline inventories surged to the highest level for this time of the year in 2-decades. Crude oil inventories in the US were unchanged at 394.1mn barrels, gasoline stockpiles rose by 3.7mn barrels to 225.4mn barrels and stocks of distillates, comprising heating oil and diesel, increased by 1.6mn barrels to 123.2mn barrels, according to the most recent EIA report. Crude oil edged lower on Wednesday after upbeat U.S. economic data suggested the Federal Reserve may pare its stimulus sooner than thought, cutting the flow of cheap central bank money that has boosted market liquidity.

Imports from Iran, which is subject to tough sanctions over its disputed nuclear weapons program, rose almost 109 percent from a year earlier, but was down 17 percent on a year to-date basis. Vietnam’s crude oil exports in the first six months of 2013 rose an estimated 3.4 percent from a year ago to 4.38 million tons, or 177,000 barrels per day (bpd), the government said this morning.

The euro pared some of the losses against the dollar, after final data showed US gross domestic product growth was more tepid than previously estimated in the first quarter, but was held back by a moderate pace of consumer spending, weak business investment and declining exports.

Natural gas futures edged higher on NYMEX, backed by a slightly warmer extended weather outlook and some technical buying ahead of the July contract expiration. Natural gas inventories are expected to increase between 85-90bn cubic feet, actual data will be released by EIA later in the day. Natural gas prices mostly lost ground on Wednesday for a fifth straight day, with milder weather expected next week for much of the eastern half of the nation pressuring prices. Natural gas is trading at 3.736. Power production in the continental United States for the week ended June 22 slid 5.3 percent from the same week in 2012 to 81,695 gigawatt hours, according to data released Wednesday by the Edison Electric Institute. U.S. natural gas inventories on average are expected to have gained 88 billion cubic feet last week, a Reuter’s poll of industry traders and analysts showed on yesterday.

Energy and Metals Trading In The Red

Gold - Oil BNSCrude oil slipped from the highest price in three days after an industry report showed U.S. fuel stockpiles increased. The API report released late yesterday showed an unexpected climb in inventory. The contract lost ground after the American Petroleum Institute, in its weekly report on U.S. commercial crude-oil inventories, said supplies were unchanged in the week ended June 21. A survey of analysts had forecast a decline of 2 million barrels.

U.S. crude inventories fell by 28,000 barrels for the week to June 21, data from the American Petroleum Institute showed, much smaller than the forecast drop of 1.7 million barrels based on a Reuter’s poll of analysts. The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its stockpiles report later on today. The market is still oversupplied, OPEC is still pumping at around 30 million barrels, and demand is flat. So unless we see some change on production we should see prices continue to fall.

WTI crude slipped 41 cents to $94.91 a barrel, and has lost over 2 percent for the quarter so far. U.S. data showing strong gains in orders for durable goods, the largest annual rise in house prices in seven years and rising consumer confidence indicated the economy was starting to pull out of a soft patch. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week the central bank would likely begin to slow the pace of its bond-buying stimulus later this year. The data supports the decision by the Fed to pare back stimulus. However, the upbeat data from the United States was countered by weak economic signals elsewhere, casting uncertainty on global fuel demand.

Gold fell to the lowest level since Sep 2010 as U.S. economic data beat estimates, backing the case for reduced stimulus from the Fed Reserve as the dollar strengthened. Silver sank to the cheapest since Aug 2010. Gold prices fell Tuesday, relinquishing earlier gains, after data showed consumer confidence in the US hit a five-year high. Gold for August delivery, the most-active contract, was recently down $4.60, or 0.4%, at $1,272.50 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. This morning in the Asian session gold took a hard tumble falling by close to $26 to trade at 1249.15 after traders saw a slew of US economic data print above expectations ranging from home prices, home sales, durable goods, and manufacturing and consumer confidence. It was like a grand slam for the US economy yesterday. Today, traders will be closely watching the unemployment numbers ahead of next Friday’s nonfarm payroll release.

Silver prices are trading at $18.84, down 3.10%. There are no economic releases from the eurozone today. During the US hours, MBA mortgage applications might remain mixed while the GDP growth rate and personal consumption might increase due to the recovery in the economy, which should support the dollar and pressurize silver prices. At the domestic front, silver prices may open on a lower note due to the prevalent weakness in silver prices in the international market.

 

Reduced Monetary Stimulus Pressures Energy Prices

Reduced Monetary Stimulus Pressures Energy Prices
Reduced Monetary Stimulus Pressures Energy Prices
Crude oil hit a high of 95.10 but eased down to trade at 94.71 in the Asian session. Crude oil futures were slightly lower Monday as investors grew wary about credit being tightened in China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer. Light, sweet crude for August delivery recently traded down 12 cents, or 0.13%, at 93.57 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Investor fears about the growth of the Chinese economy grew after the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, indicated that it was clamping down on easy-money policies. China is dominating the markets as investors focus on the reason and the effect of policy changes by the PBOC.

U.S. crude futures steadied above $93 a barrel, after falling for the past three sessions and posting their worst week since April amid worries over Chinese demand and U.S. economic stimulus being pared back. Market attention continues to remain focused on the US Fed, but China is weighing heavily and slowly taking center stage.

There was very little fundamental data on Monday, so markets moved on sentiment shifts and news flow, which was light also. The U.S Federal Trade Commission has followed the European Union in opening a formal probe into how crude oil and refined fuel prices are set, Bloomberg News reported on yesterday. Tanzania’s oil importers are seeking over 300,000 tons of oil products for delivery from late July to August, similar volumes to previous requirements, industry sources said this morning. Canada’s largest pipeline company was investigating on Sunday the cause of a 750-barrel spill of synthetic crude that forced it to shut three oil pipelines in northern Alberta. This was it for headlines yesterday and this morning.

U.S. natural gas futures ended lower for a third straight session on Monday, with milder forecasts for later this week and next week outweighing the heat currently blanketing the Northeast and Midwest. Natural gas is trading at 3.756. Natural gas remains in the headlines with more and more attention focusing on the use and demand for the cheap energy supply. Israel’s government on Sunday approved limiting natural gas exports to about 40 percent of the country’s newly-discovered offshore reserves.

A consortium led by Japanese trading house Itochu Corp is likely to agree as early as Saturday to build an LNG plant in Russia with Gazprom, the Nikkei newspaper reported, to meet Japan’s growing energy needs. Traders can expect prices to trade lower for the day on account of expectations of milder weather and increasing worries over the power demand in the US.

Oil And Gas Tumble On Lower Demands

Oil And Gas Tumble On Lower Demands
Oil And Gas Tumble On Lower Demands
As the US dollar soars crude oil continues to decline for a third day, trading at the open on Monday below 94.00 falling in morning trade. Crude oil declined for the second day in a choppy trade on Friday, with Brent posting its biggest two-day drop since September, as the US dollar rallied and traders feared slower oil demand in China and diminished investor demand in the United States compounded by higher than expected inventories reported midweek.  The Energy Information Administration, said crude oil inventories in the U.S. rose 300,000 barrels to 394.1 million barrels for the week ended Friday. Analysts had estimated that crude-oil stocks would go in the other direction, falling 400,000 barrels.

Contraction in China’s factory activity which is at a nine month low further bleaker China’s growth outlook and raised demand concerns from the world’s second largest oil consumer. However, escalating tensions in Middle East after heavy fighting was reported in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city limited the downside in crude prices on fears of supply disruption if other Middle Eastern nations were drawn into the Syrian conflict.

The dollar rose to a two-week high that may add to the case for the Federal Reserve to pare back bond purchases. The U.S. currency strengthened before reports due tomorrow that will probably show orders for durable goods grew and house prices continued to recover, which can help the dollar but also strengthen crude oil fundamentals. The US dollar has recovered to 82.92 this morning after falling below the 81.00 price level ahead of the FOMC announcement.

China’s central bank said it may adjust monetary policy as needed, suggesting officials are more open to loosening policies as a cash squeeze risks exacerbating an economic slowdown. The People’s Bank of China said the nation should “appropriately fine-tune” its policies, according to a statement that summarized the monetary policy committee’s second quarter meeting in Beijing. Any moves by the PBOC would increase the demand on crude oil as China remains the world’s largest consumer of energy products.

Natural gas futures fell almost 3% on NYMEX, as rising inventories and cooler weather left investors concerned about falling gas usage. The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the US decreased by 12 this week to 1,759. U.S. natural gas futures for front month delivery closed at $3.81 per million British thermal units, up 5 cents or 1.38%. Traders can expect natural gas to move down as high inventories and weak demand is likely to hurt prices.

Crude Sees Largest Price Drop In 7 Months

Crude Sees Largest Price Drop In 7 Months
Crude Sees Largest Price Drop In 7 Months
Crude oil witnessed biggest one-day drop in 7-months falling to 94.99 at the close, as the market grappled with a continued Chinese manufacturing slowdown and signals from the Federal Reserve that a reduction in monetary stimulus is in sight. Crude oil dropped $4 in the biggest one-day decline since November as part of a cross-market rout sparked by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Chairman plans to wind down monetary stimulus. This morning crude has regained a few cents after its tumble, to trade at 95.328.

Although market focus was on the Fed comments and Chinese HSBC PMI data, there were several news events affecting the markets. Exxon Mobil Corp said on Thursday it shut down the sole crude distillation unit at its 149,500 barrel per day (bpd) Los Angeles-area refinery in Torrance, California, a move that would affect refinery output.

Oil major BP is weighing cuts of more than 1 million barrels per day in targeted peak output at Iraq’s most prolific oilfield, Rumaila, its chief executive said, as Baghdad aims to pump at lower rates so resources will last longer.

Protestors of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas, said on Thursday that an expected White House package of proposals to combat climate change was not an adequate trade-off for approval of the controversial project.

Higher than expected inventory reports on Wednesday also weighed on the commodity. Crude-oil futures were also pressured by a stronger dollar. The US Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies, was recently up 1%. As the greenback strengthens, dollar-denominated oil becomes more expensive for buyers using other currencies.

Oil futures were also pressured by data from the Energy Information Administration, which said crude oil inventories in the U.S. rose 300,000 barrels to 394.1 million barrels for the week ended Friday. Analysts had estimated that crude-oil stocks would go in the other direction, falling 400,000 barrels.

U.S. crude-oil stockpiles have been near record levels for much of this year, due to surging domestic production and weak demand. The current level is the highest for this week of the year since the EIA began tracking weekly stockpiles in August 1982. Stocks are less than 1% below the record weekly level of 397.6 million barrels hit on May 24.

Meanwhile, the EIA reported gasoline stockpiles rose 200,000 barrels, while analysts predicted a 1 million barrel increase. Also, stocks of distillates, comprising heating oil and diesel, fell by 500,000 barrels, while analysts forecast a 700,000-barrel increase.

Natural gas futures fell more than 2% on NYMEX, as US gas inventories grew more than expected and a new forecast led to uncertainty over the summer’s weather for the eastern US. The Energy Information Administration reported an increase of 91bn cubic feet in US stocks for the week ended June 14, bringing total inventories to 2.438 trillion cubic feet. U.S. natural gas slid nearly 2 percent early on Thursday, pressured by profit-taking after three straight days of gains and ahead of weekly government storage data expected to show another large inventory build. Natural gas is trading at 3.871 on Friday morning. 

Crude Oil Tagged Out In A Market Triple Play

Crude Oil Tagged Out In A Market Triple Play
Crude Oil Tagged Out In A Market Triple Play
This morning crude oil took a serious tumble, falling by $1.39 to trade at $97.10. Crude got a triple header yesterday with the FOMC held rates and policy, Mr. Bernanke clearly stated that the Fed was prepared to begin tapering in the near term if the economy continued to improve along with the jobs market. Crude oil inventories showed an unexpected rise in stocks, while the Chinese HSBC flash PMI showed a continued contraction and missed expectations. Oil prices came under pressure on Wednesday while gold and copper fell after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank could begin to scale back its stimulus measures for the U.S. economy later this year. The US dollar climbed on Mr. Bernanke’s comments which weighed on the commodity also. The US dollar is trading at 81.80 moving up from the 80.00 level prior to decision.

Bernanke told a news conference after a two-day Fed meeting that the central bank expects to slow the pace of its bond purchases later this year and bring them to a halt around mid-2014. Oil prices closed little changed at the end of Wednesday’s official session and fell after-hours as the market digested Bernanke’s remarks. The Fed’s stimulus has been responsible for many of the highs in commodity prices since the financial crisis, with the central bank committed to buying $85 billion of bonds a month under its third and latest quantitative easing plan.

The US Department of Energy yesterday said that US crude reserves last week climbed by 300,000 barrels to 394.1 million barrels. Analysts’ consensus forecast had been for a drop of 400,000 barrels, according to a survey. But oil prices have been trending higher in recent days, in part due to concerns that the Syria crisis could expand to other countries in the oil-rich Middle East.

China’s manufacturing activity contracted again in June, HSBC said this morning, hitting a nine-month low and adding to concerns about the strength of the world’s second biggest economy. The preliminary purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 48.3, worse than May’s final reading of 49.2 and its lowest since September. A reading below 50 indicates contraction, while anything above signals expansion. The index tracks manufacturing activity in China’s factories and workshops and is a closely watched barometer of the health of the economy. “Manufacturing sectors are weighed down by deteriorating external demand, moderating domestic demand and rising destocking pressures,” Qu Hongbin, HSBC’s chief economist for China, said in the release. Concerns have grown over the outlook for China’s economy, which grew 7.8 per cent in 2012, its worst performance in 13 years. The first three months of the year saw expansion of just 7.7 per cent, disappointing analysts who had expected growth to accelerate in 2013 after showing strength at the end of last year. The government has set a growth target for 2013 of 7.5 per cent, the same as last year’s, as it looks to retool its economic model from exports to domestic consumption.

Political Tensions And A Shift In Distribution Hits Crude Oil

Political Tensions And Changes And A Shift In Distribution Hits Crude Oil
Political Tensions And Changes And A Shift In Distribution Hits Crude Oil

Crude oil eased 10 cents this morning as traders sold off to book profits after the strong rise in prices since Monday. With the FOMC meeting and press conference later today, there are possibility for strong volatility in prices, as traders moved to the side lines. Crude remains high at $98.58. Yesterday crude oil continues to climb as the heat is turned up in Syria. Crude oil is trading at $98.82 adding 74 cents.

President Barack Obama authorized support and arms for Syrian rebels, increasing tensions in an oil-saturated region. Although Syria is not a major oil-producing country, it does boarder Iran and Iraq which produce about one-fifth of OPEC’s oil output. The value of the dollar fell last week, providing further support for the increase in oil prices. Continued demonstrations in Turkey also supported prices as traders are stressed that there could be spillover into oil producing nations. Escalating tensions in Middle East after heavy fighting was reported in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city also supported crude prices on fears of supply disruption if other Middle Eastern nations were drawn into the Syrian conflict.

Yesterday the American Petroleum Institute’s weekly report showed a drop in supplies. Crude oil supplies dropped by 4.3mn barrels, while gasoline inventories increased by 900,000 barrels, and distillate stockpiles dipped by 600,000 barrels.

In international news Russia is steeply ramping up oil deliveries to China, with Asia now importing almost a fifth of oil exports from the world’s largest crude producer in a strategic shift meant by the Kremlin to end reliance on weak and saturated European markets. Russia will increase oil supplies to China by 13 per cent in July-September from the previous three months, a shipping schedule obtained by Reuters showed on Tuesday.

U.S. natural gas futures ended higher on Tuesday, driven by forecasts for hotter weather in the Northeast and Midwest that should increase the demand for gas for air conditioners. Forecasters upgraded their expectations for hot temperatures in the coming weeks, which can to a higher electricity demand. Natural Gas is expected to move up on back of increased cooling demand for gas. Gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange ended up 3 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $3.905 per million British thermal units after trading between $3.865 and $3.952. Natural gas is continuing to climb this morning adding 3 points to trade at $3.915 

Gold Moves Between Small Gains & Losses

Gold Moves Between Small Gains & Losses
Gold Moves Between Small Gains & Losses
Gold gained this morning in the Asian session as it usually does, adding $3.05 to trade at $1390.65. Gold futures closed higher on Friday, to eke out a modest weekly gain, supported by a data showing larger-than-expected rise in wholesale prices, a day after news report indicated that the Federal Reserve will try to calm fears over tapering its monetary stimulus program. Gold traded in the green in Asian trading on Monday as investors awaited indications from a key U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later this week on the outlook for the central bank’s bond buying program. The Fed meets on June 18-19 against a backdrop of stronger-than-expected data on U.S. retail sales and the job market, with markets looking for clues to any tapering of its economic stimulus program. Markets have been volatile since Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last month the bank could scale back its stimulus measures if the economy improves. A cut in the Fed’s $85 billion monthly bond purchases could hurt gold, which has benefited from its role as a hedge against inflation.

Gold prices were supported by some buying in China, the No. 2 bullion consumer in the world after India. Shanghai gold futures were up 0.4 percent on Monday. However, demand in Asia has cooled from peak levels seen after the mid-April sell-off in gold. Bullion is down 17 percent for the year after 12 years of annual gains. Indian purchases of gold have fallen since an import duty hike earlier this month. The government is trying to narrow its current account deficit by reducing gold imports.

Gold holdings of SPDR gold trust, the largest ETF backed by the precious metal, increased to 1,003.53 tons, as on June 13.

Gold eased 0.2 per cent to $1,387.24 on Friday. Bullion closed up about 0.5 per cent for the week on Friday helped by strong demand for coins and bars, a pullback in US stocks and rising tensions in the Middle East.  US gold fell slightly to $1,386.9. Markets have been on the edge since May 22 when Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the bank could scale back its stimulus programme if the economy improves. A reduction in the $85 billion monthly bond purchases could hurt gold, typically seen as a hedge against inflation. The Fed meets on June 18-19. Hedge funds and money managers slashed their bullish bets in gold and silver futures and options in the week to June 11, a report by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission showed on Friday.

Gold output in Australia, the No. 2 producer behind China, fell 5 per cent in the first quarter on weather-related disruption to 63.5 tons, according to the latest Gold Quarterly Review.

HSBC lowered its platinum price forecasts for this year and next, even though supplies are tight, because the metal has been influenced by the sharp sell-off in gold. Silver forecasts were also lowered and are now expected to remain in the $22.00 price range until the end of the month. Silver is trading at $21.945 down by 9 points this morning. 

Natural Gas Surges On EIA Inventory Surprise

Natural Gas Surges On EIA Inventory Surprise
Natural Gas Surges On EIA Inventory Surprise
Thursday’s natural gas storage inventory stated: Working gas in storage was 2,347 Bcf as of Friday, June 7, 2013, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 95 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 587 Bcf less than last year at this time and 58 Bcf below the 5-year average of 2,405 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 102 Bcf below the 5-year average following net injections of 57 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 2 Bcf below the 5-year average of 915 Bcf after a net injection of 25 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 46 Bcf above the 5-year average after a net addition of 13 Bcf. At 2,347 Bcf, total working gas is within the 5-year historical range.

The report took speculators by surprise as traders were expecting to see a much larger increase and helped the commodity make an about turn to trade over the 3.81 price level after declining to the upper 3.75 range. According to data provided by Nanex, $17 million worth of futures contracts changed hands in the moments leading up to the report’s release, sending prices higher.

The report, released every Thursday, details how much natural gas the government holds at that time. Markets typically react instantly to the information. This week, the report showed an increase of the commodity in storage, in line with expectations. Milder weather across the US as summer temperatures still have not arrived which helps increase residential demand and spare capacity production by electric companies, who turn to cheap natural gas for their extra production. Also supporting prices were comments from the new energy honcho in the US. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz pledged to speed reviews of applications to export natural gas and told lawmakers he supported development of all types of power, including from alternate sources.

Moniz, confirmed by the U.S. Senate a month ago, defended government spending on clean-energy projects that Republicans have faulted, saying climate change is a risk and the investments would give the U.S. an advantage in a burgeoning global renewable-energy market.

Moniz said the department would expeditiously act on requests from producers to export natural gas. The department is reviewing about 20 applications from companies including Dominion Resources Inc. (D) to sell liquefied natural gas to nations without free-trade agreements with the U.S., a reflection of how rising gas production from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has shifted the energy debate.

Crude oil is trading this morning at 96.68 flat today after trading in the green yesterday. Crude-oil futures ticked lower earlier on the day Thursday despite a better-than-expected report on U.S. jobless claims as investors remained uncertain about global economic conditions. Late in the day on Thursday markets made a U-turn to see crude oil climb back to the 96.68 level. Prices remain high as speculators push them up with no grounds and no ties to fundamentals as recent reports show a global glut and a surge in production. U.S. oil production growth was the largest in the world last year, showing that despite some suggestions to the contrary, crude is plentiful, BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said Wednesday. The real challenge for the industry, he said, is how much money and where in the world to invest to reap the greatest rewards from the changing landscape.

“The supply of energy is coming from an increasing diversity of sources as the world’s energy market continues to adapt, innovate and evolve,” Dudley said.