Oil prices slip ahead of U.S. inventory report By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A pump jack operates in front of a drilling rig at sunset in an oil field in Midland, Texas U.S. August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

By Ahmad Ghaddar

LONDON (Reuters) -Oil prices slipped after early gains on Wednesday, though a potential drop in stocks and tighter supplies capped losses.

futures were at $84.56 a barrel by 1101 GMT, down 22 cents, or 0.3%, after touching a session high of $85.50.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell by 49 cents, or 0.6%, to $83.66 after rising close to $85.

Market sources said that API data showed U.S. crude stocks declined by 2.5 million barrels for the week to Nov. 5, defying analysts’ estimates for a 2.1 million build in crude stocks in a Reuters poll.

“After the strong rally over the last few days, oil prices are in a wait and see mode,” said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

“Market participants will closely watch if the EIA will confirm the large draws for crude and oil products and on the next moves from the U.S. administration.”

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) official oil inventory data is expected later on Wednesday.

Further underpinning the view the market remains tight, trading giant Vitol Group’s CEO, Russell Hardy, said on Tuesday that oil demand had returned to pre-pandemic levels and demand in the first quarter of 2022 could exceed 2019 levels.

“The possibility of a spike to $100 per barrel is clearly there,” Hardy told the Reuters Commodities Summit.

Market gains on Tuesday were mainly driven by a short-term outlook from the EIA, which projected gasoline prices would fall over the next few months.

That was a key factor U.S. President Joe Biden had been watching to determine whether to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve amid concern over recent soaring gasoline prices.

Hardy said that a potential SPR release is likely to have only a short-term impact on the oil market.

“The EIA report … does curb concerns that the U.S. will release oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR),” Commonwealth Bank analyst Vivek Dhar said in a note.

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by : Reuters

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