Crude Oil Dips In Asia Ahead Of OPEC, API Inventory Reports

Crude oil prices fell in Asia on Tuesday with industry estimates of U.S. inventories expected to show a leap as stocks build from Gulf Coast refinery shutdowns in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., fell 0.32% to $53.67 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures edged down 0.17% to $47.99 a barrel.

Also ahead, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ monthly report to assess global supply and demand levels is due.

Analysts surveyed Monday by S&P Global Platts expect US crude stocks rose 10.1 million barrels. Inventories of gasoline and distillate were expected to fall 4 million barrels and 300,000 barrels, respectively.

Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday.

Monday’s gains came as Hurricane Irma struck the U.S. southeast with less force than once feared, easing worries that energy demand would be hit hard.

Prices received additional support amid reports that Saudi Arabia’s oil minister discussed possibly extending a pact to cut global oil supplies beyond March 2018 with his Venezuelan and Kazakh counterparts.

OPEC and other producers, including Russia, have agreed to reduce output by about 1.8 million barrels per day until next March in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices.

A further extension for at least three more months beyond March is now being discussed before OPEC meets again in November.

By Stephen Holmes