Market Overview

This Week In The Oil Market: Iran Loses Customers, US-Saudi Tensions Rise

This Week In The Oil Market: Iran Loses Customers, US-Saudi Tensions Rise

The oil market retreated further from multi-year highs this week, with both WTI and Brent crude prices trading lower for a second consecutive week.

Here’s a look at the latest key numbers from the oil market and some of the headlines that were moving oil prices this week.

Weekly Reports

On Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute reported a 2.1 million-barrel decrease in U.S. crude supply during the week ending Oct. 12. Gasoline supply decreased by 3.4 million barrels and distillates supply dropped by 246,000 barrels.

On Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration reported domestic crude oil inventories held by U.S. firms increased by 6.5 million barrels during the week ending Oct. 12. The increase exceeded analyst expectations of a 1.8 million barrel rise.

On Friday, Baker Hughes reported U.S. energy companies added 4 oil rigs last week. U.S. drillers have now added a total of 137 new rigs in the past year. The total U.S. active oil rig count now stands at 873.


On Monday, Refinitiv Eikon date revealed that Turkey and Italy are the only countries outside of China, India and the Middle East that are still buying Iranian crude oil ahead of a new round of U.S. sanctions on Iran that are set to be imposed Nov. 4. Refinitiv Eikon reported October Iranian exports of 1.33 million barrels per day so far this month, down from 2.5 million bpd six months ago.

So far, tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia over the alleged assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi government have not rattled the oil market. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump said the U.S. will not “walk away from Saudi Arabia” unless there's evidence the king and crown prince new about the killing.

On Friday, China reported record refinery throughput in the month of September, suggesting crude oil demand in China is healthy despite trade war concerns. Despite the positive numbers, investors are still concerned about the long-term impact that slowing GDP growth in China will have on oil demand.

Price Action

Prices are as of 4 p.m. ET and reflect the previous seven days:

  • WTI Crude declined 2.5 percent to $69.29.
  • Brent crude gained 0.5 percent to $79.96.
  • United States Oil Fund LP (NYSE: USO) declined 2.7 percent to $14.71.
  • SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Explore & Prod. (NYSE: XOP) declined 2.6 percent to $40.06.
  • VanEck Vectors Oil SVCS ETF (NYSE: OIH) declined 3.5 percent to $23.30.

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