From the Field
Oil prices flat as US crude inventories fall
LONDON, September 7, 2018 – Oil prices were flat on Friday, as U.S. crude inventories fell to their lowest levels since 2015 and trade tensions with China increased.
West Texas Crude oil futures rose 0.01% to $67.78 a barrel as of 5:11 AM ET (9:11 GMT). Meanwhile Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., decreased 0.08% to $76.44.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that crude oil inventories fell by 4.302 million barrels in the week ended August 31. Market analysts had expected a crude-stock decline of 1.294 million barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute late Wednesday reported a decline of 1.200 million.
Supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the key delivery point for Nymex crude, decreased by 549,000 barrels last week, the EIA said.
Oil prices have been driven higher in the past few months as demand for oil outsrips supply and upcoming U.S. sanctions against Iran have also supported price increases. The financial sanctions against Iran will target the petroleum sector in November, when a global drop of crude supply is expected.
Meanwhile trade tensions and emerging market weakness remained in the back of investors minds. Traders are waiting for news of U.S. tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that could go into effect as soon as Friday. China said it would retaliate if new tariffs are imposed.
In other energy trading, Gasoline RBOB Futures fell 0.15% at $1.9560 a gallon, while heating oil inched down 0.05% to $2.2080 a gallon. Natural gas futures rose 0.25% to $2.779 per million British thermal units.