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Oil driven by the drop in US stocks

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(New York) Oil prices posted a second sharp rise on Wednesday, on the back of lower than expected US inventories and cheap purchases.

A barrel of North Sea Brent for February delivery, the most traded in London, gained 1.77% to end at $ 75.29.

In New York, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI), for the same maturity, rose 2.30% to 72.76 dollars.

Commercial crude oil reserves in the United States fell again much more than expected last week, according to figures released by the United States Energy Information Agency (EIA) on Wednesday.

During the week ended December 17, they fell by 4.7 million barrels to 423.6 million barrels, while analysts expected a more moderate decline, 2.5 million barrels.

This surprise figure allowed crude oil prices to accelerate their progression, while black gold edged up in the green at the start of the session.

“It’s a big drop,” commented Robert Yawger, head of energy futures at Mizuho Securities, which he said has caught the attention of speculators. “That’s the number they’re looking at. […] This is the largest decrease since September 9. Everything is here. ”

These operators are therefore back to the purchase, after having already oriented Tuesday’s session, according to the analyst, to the point of increasing the price of WTI by 6.63% in two days after the fall on Monday.

However, many observers have noted that “the sharp drop in crude inventories was offset by the significant increase in gasoline reserves, with the significant drop in demand”, according to Matt Smith, head of analysis oil for commodity data provider Kpler.

Gasoline stocks have increased by 5.5 million barrels over seven days, eight times the total forecast by analysts (650,000 barrels). The figure contrasts with the decline of 700,000 barrels noted during the previous week, which analysts had put on the account of an inflection in demand.

All refined products recorded a decline in demand, apart from heating oil.

The utilization rate of US refineries fell slightly (from 89.6% to 89.8%), at a time of year when the cold and holiday travel are expected to boost them in activity. “It’s almost unheard of,” said Robert Yawger.

As the price of WTI nears its highest since the tumble on November 26, the day Omicron was identified, the market will encounter technical resistance thresholds, which will push speculators out, according to the analyst. “At 73.34” dollars a barrel, the highest level reached since November 26, “they will unplug”.



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