USA crude oil imports, exports up last week

Oil Holds Gains on Signs of Shale Slowdown as OPEC Output FallsMore

The worry was that the sanctions, targeting specifically PDVSA, will result in a shortage of heavy crude for US refineries on the Gulf Coast, but in actuality, there seems to be sufficient spare production capacity around the world to fill any supply gap resulting from the latest developments in and around Venezuela.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $62.05 per barrel, up 7 cents, after closing down 0.8 percent in the previous session. They closed down 1.7 percent on Tuesday.

"WTI and Brent crude oil both remain rangebound following a failed attempt to move higher", said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank. -China trade dispute have also weighed on the market.

The U.S. has struck the "right balance" to meet U.S. market needs and all options and "are on the table" going forward, Mnuchin told reporters outside the White House. -China talks to end a trade spat between the world's top two economies.

A day after the American Petroleum Institute disappointed oil bulls by reporting an estimated inventory build across the board, the Energy Information Administration deepened the mood by saying US crude oil inventories added 1.3 million barrels in the week to February 1.

Venezuela, which produced 1.15 million barrels per day in December, was forced to look for alternative clients for its crude oil following sanctions that prevent the state oil company PDVSA from exporting to the USA unless the revenues are paid to opposition leader Juan Guaido.

"The weekly report from the EIA on USA oil stocks was bullish for outright prices, plain and simple", said Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd.in London.

The oil price is showing a 20 percent gain so far this year.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russian Federation, agreed to production cuts effective from last month to beat back supply growth. The daily average exports of crude oil over the past four weeks were about 2.5 million barrels, up by about 1 million barrels per day year-on-year.

"We believe that financial markets may be overestimating the risks of a global recession".

"Moreover, lower oil prices - prices were between 14 percent and 18 percent lower in January than their 2018 average - are likely to stimulate economic activity and oil demand, particularly in emerging markets".

At 447.2 million barrels, US crude oil inventories are about 6 percent above the five year average for this time of year, the EIA reported.

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