Salem Radio Network News Monday, December 4, 2023


Oil prices climb $1 as markets focus on supply tightness

By Paul Carsten

LONDON (Reuters) -Oil prices rose by more than $1 on Wednesday as markets focused on supply tightness heading into winter and a “soft landing” for the U.S. economy.

Brent crude futures broached $95, up $1.14 to $95.10 a barrel by 1112 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed $1.35 to $91.74.

Markets continued to worry about U.S. crude stockpiles at the key Cushing, Oklahoma, storage hub falling below minimum operating levels.

That dip at Cushing, the delivery point for U.S. crude futures, would compound supply tightness stemming from supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies. This tightness is helping fuel the current crude price gains.

Those concerns come despite industry data on Tuesday showing U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose last week by about 1.6 million barrels, against analysts’ expectations of a roughly 300,000-barrel drop.

“Oil prices are overall relatively strong amid the current tightening of supply,” said CMC Markets analyst Leon Li.

“(Economic) data from countries in Europe and the United States have recently weakened … Oil prices in October may show a volatile trend as a whole. It is unlikely to exceed $100 in the short term, but it is expected to be strong.”

U.S. government data on oil inventories is expected at 10:30 a.m. (1430 GMT).

Russia last week imposed a temporary ban on gasoline and diesel exports to most countries to stabilise the domestic market, and though it later softened restrictions, these could put upward pressure on crude oil demand from refineries.

Meanwhile, a “soft landing” for the U.S. economy is more likely than not, Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari said on Tuesday, but there is also a 40% chance that the Fed will need to raise interest rates “meaningfully” to beat inflation.

The Bank of England has concluded its tightening cycle and will likely keep the Bank Rate at 5.25% until at least July, a Reuters poll of economists showed, although a minority said it would hike rates again this year.

Higher interest rates increase borrowing costs, which could slow economic growth and reduce oil demand.

(Reporting by Paul Carsten in London, Arathy Somasekhar in Houston and Emily Chow in Singapore; Editing by Sonali Paul, Jamie Freed, Christian Schmollinger and Sharon Singleton)


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