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Crude oil futures rangebound amid US inventory drawdown, global growth concerns

August 04/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil futures were steady to higher in mid-morning trade in Asia July 29 after an unexpected draw in US crude stocks provided some support to the global crude complex amid an uncertain demand outlook, as per S&P Global.

At 11:05 am Singapore time (0305 GMT), ICE Brent September crude futures were up 11 cents/b (0.25%) from the July 28 settle at USD43.33/b, while the NYMEX September light sweet crude contract was 1 cent/b (0.02%) higher at USD41.05/b.

"Broadly, we have been seeing crude oil prices paring gains from Tuesday with continued growth concerns capping further upsides at current levels," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi said July 29. "The surprise draw in crude oil inventories according to the API report had played a part in supporting prices overnight, though WTI can be seen staying relatively more cautious with a buildup in official EIA crude inventory expected on Wednesday," she added.

The American Petroleum Institute overnight reported a 6.83 million-barrels draw in crude oil inventories for the week ending July 24, against market expectations of a 450, 000-barrel rise, according to analyst reports. More definitive US stocks data is due for release by the Energy Information Administration later on July 29.

"The enormity of the inventory draw should be sufficient to hold the bears (at) bay (and) temporarily alleviate some concerns about ongoing demand distress," AxiCorp chief global markets analyst Stephen Innes said in a note July 29.

However, a resurgence in coronavirus infections in the Asia-Pacific, protracted US fiscal stimulus negotiations and an increase in supply from OPEC+ from August were weighing heavily on market sentiment, keeping crude prices rangebound, market sources said.

China reported 101 new coronavirus cases July 28 and Vietnam 30, while Tokyo, Hong Kong and Melbourne have reported jumps in infections rates in recent days, underlining the difficulty of containing the virus as restrictions ease in places that had earlier curbed infection rates, and indicating that demand was likely to remain subdued amid the uncertainty.

In the US, negotiations over a proposed trillion-dollar fiscal stimulus package that would provide a one-off USD1,200 payment while cutting weekly federal unemployment benefits from USD600 to USD200 are continuing; analysts said the protracted stimulus negotiations and USD400 reduction would weigh on consumer spending and market sentiment.

Global crude output is also set to increase in August as OPEC+ sticks with its schedule of tapering coordinated production cuts from 9.7 million b/d to 7.7 million b/d from August 1.

As MRC reported earlier, US crude oil inventories moved sharply lower during the week ended July 24 as exports and refinery demand climbed to multi-month highs, US Energy Information Administration data showed July 29, 2020. Commercial crude stocks fell 10.61 million barrels to 525.97 million barrels last week, EIA data showed. While the draw pushed stockpiles to 14-week lows, they remained more than 17% above the five-year average for this time of year.

Earlier this year, BP said the deadly coronavirus outbreak could cut global oil demand growth by 40 per cent in 2020, putting pressure on Opec producers and Russia to curb supplies to keep prices in check.

We remind that six world's major petrochemical companies in Flanders, Belgium, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and the Netherlands (Trilateral Region) announced the creation of a consortium to jointly investigate how naphtha or gas steam crackers could be operated using renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels. The Cracker of the Future consortium, which includes BASF, Borealis, BP, LyondellBasell, SABIC and Total, aims to produce base chemicals while also significantly reducing carbon emissions. The companies agreed to invest in R&D and knowledge sharing as they assess the possibility of transitioning their base chemical production to renewable electricity.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, Europe, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, homopolymer PP, propylene, HDPE, ethylene, petrochemistry, BASF, Borealis, BP Plc, LyondellBasell, Sabic, Total Petrochemicals, Russia, USA.
Category:General News
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