Crude oil futures fall on bearish API data, demand concerns

Singapore — Crude oil futures were lower during mid-morning trade in Asia Wednesday, amid a build reported in US crude stocks last week while demand and supply concerns continued to exert downward pressure. At 10:35 am Singapore time (0235 GMT), ICE Brent August futures were down 86 cents/b (1.38%) from Tuesday’s settle at $61.43/b, while the NYMEX July light sweet crude futures contract lost 85 cents/b (1.60%) at $52.42/b. According to analyst reports quoting data released Tuesday by the American Petroleum Institute, US crude stocks for the week ended June 7 were up by 4.85 million barrels. “Crude oil futures edged lower … as the American Petroleum Institute reported a surprise build in US stockpile levels,” Benjamin Lu, investment analyst at Phillip Futures, said. Analysts surveyed Monday by S&P Global Platts were looking for US crude stocks for the same period to have increased by 80,000 barrels.The API report was mixed for refined products — a US gasoline stock build of 830,000 barrels and a distillate stock draw of 3.5 million barrels, analysts said. API also reported a stock build of 2.37 million barrels at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for the NYMEX crude contract. The more definitive US inventory data is due for release from the US Energy Information Administration later Wednesday. “Looks like API is trying to get in line with EIA. Cushing builds are wild! Yet distillate draw is huge!” Price Futures Group senior market analyst Phil Flynn said. “Demand-side concerns became the most salient issue during the past month and contributed to volatility and price declines for risk assets such as commodities and equities,” EIA said in its Short-Term Energy Outlook. The US-China trade conflict, potential tariffs on Mexico and lower industrial activity contributed to concerns of lower-than-expected economic growth, which would curtail oil demand growth. Meanwhile, investors are waiting on the sidelines awaiting a decision from OPEC and non-OPEC members who are set to meet at Vienna on June 25 on their production cut agreement. “OPEC continues to set the scene ahead of this month’s bi-annual meeting. Russia and Saudi Arabia both warned earlier this week that prices could fall if OPEC+ didn’t agree to more supply cuts in H2 2019,” ANZ analysts said in a note. “Oil prices though gathering support from supply cut expectations (OPEC+), look poised to show for lackluster conditions before a firm announcement is made,” Lu said.