U.S. oil rises as inventories fall, OPEC sees solid demand on stronger economic growth

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  • OPEC revised its global economic growth forecast for 2024 slightly higher to 2.9%.
  • The cartel maintained its oil demand growth forecast of 2.2 million barrels per day for this year.

U.S. crude oil rose nearly 1% Wednesday, topping $82 per barrel as U.S. inventories declined while OPEC sees solid demand supported by stronger economic growth this year.

U.S. oil inventories fell by 3.4 million barrels last week while gasoline stocks shrank by two million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. But implied oil demand, measured by products supplied to the market, softened by 334,000 barrels per day.

Bulls are looking for sustained drawdowns in U.S. stockpiles to confirm expectations that summer fuel demand will pick up after a tepid start to the season.

Here are Wednesday's closing energy prices:

  • West Texas Intermediate August contract: $82.10 per barrel, up 69 cents, or 0.85%. Year to date, U.S. oil has gained 14.58%.
  • Brent September contract: $85.08 per barrel, up 42 cents, or 0.5%. Year to date, the global benchmark is ahead 10.44%.
  • RBOB Gasoline August contract: $2.50 per gallon, down 2 cents, or 0.95%. Year to date, gasoline is up 19%.  
  • Natural Gas August contract: $2.33 per thousand cubic feet, down 1 cent, or 0.64%. Year to date, gas is down 7.3%.

OPEC, meanwhile, maintained its oil demand growth forecast of 2.2 million barrels per day for 2024. The cartel revised global economic growth slightly higher for this year to 2.9%, buoyed by a better-than-expected first-half performance in Brazil, Russia, India and China plus a rebound in the eurozone.

The recent oil rally has stalled out with prices falling for three straight days through Tuesday. Tamas Varga, analyst at oil broker PVM, attributed the latest round of selling to revived ceasefire talks between Hamas and Israel as well as Hurricane Beryl.

Oil infrastructure on the Gulf Coast appears to have avoided substantial damage from the storm, but the port of Houston was closed. Varga said the market may expect oil exports to decline as a result, which could lead to an increase in inventories when the next round of data is released next week.

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