Oil near $92 as traders push crude higher ahead of weekly stockpile data

  • Oil (WTI) advances over 1.5% as traders brace for weekly EIA data.
  • The US Dollar prints another 10-month high as investors flee into the safer Greenback.
  • The overnight numbers from the API showed a small build in stockpiles. 

Oil prices are stretching within inches of a new high for 2023, with traders bracing for the weekly Energy Information Administration (EIA) report and rumors that Aramco is set to sell its crude at elevated prices in Asia. Although the crude stockpile build or drawdown will be important, traders will zoom in on the Cushing stockpile reserve, which is flirting with decade lows. Another big drawdown of that reserve would mean a big upshift in demand to hit the oil markets and thus higher prices. 

Meanwhile, the US Dollar (USD) keeps posting new highs for the past 40 weeks, with the main  driver this week being the stalemate on Capitol Hill. Both the Senate and the House are pushing bills to the floor, proposals that on its own are not enough to avert a shutdown by October 1. As the deadline looms, it becomes more likely that by Saturday the US government will shut down and markets could be left in the dark on where the US is in terms of macroeconomic conditions. An extended halt would mean that many agencies stop publishing economic data.  

Crude Oil (WTI) price trades at $91.32 per barrel, and Brent Oil trades at $93.44 per barrel at the time of writing. 

Oil news and market movers

  • US Dollar hits a new high since December 2022.
  • The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday a draw of 1.59M barrels of oil in US commercial storage for the week of September 22.
  • The API report also mentioned that Gasoline inventories experienced a draw of 70K barrels for the week, Distillate inventories a draw of 1.7M barrels, and stockpiles at the Cushing (Oklahoma) storage hub  a draw of 828K barrels.
  • The Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release its weekly US Petroleum Supply report near 14:30 GMT on Wednesday. Analysts forecast the report will show a decrease of 600K barrels for domestic crude, a decline of 200K barrels for Gasoline, and a drop of 1M barrels in Distillate stocks.
  • Saudi Arabia’s Aramco is set to hike its prices on the Asian markets for November crude contracts. 

Oil Technical Analysis: Oil to face catalyst 

Oil prices are heading higher as traders are starting to double down on a possible drawdown of the Cushing storage hub to a decade low. With gas prices rising at the pumps, the US government can only release more reserves in order to make sure prices do not turn into an inflationary force. This means that the US will need to buy crude on the market in order to restock and fill the gap it is creating these past few weeks. 

On the upside, the double top from October and November of last year at $93.12 remains the level to beat. Although this looks very much in reach, markets have already priced in a lot of possible supply deficits and a bullish outlook. Should $93.12 be taken out, look for $97.11, the high of August 2022.

On the downside, a new floor is formed near $88 with the high of September 5 and 11 underpinning the current price action. Proof of that already exists with the dip of September 13 and September 21, which reversed ahead of $88. Should $88 break , the peak of August 10 needs to be enough to catch the dip near $84.20. 

WTI US OIL daily chart
WTI US OIL daily chart



What is WTI Oil?

WTI Oil is a type of Crude Oil sold on international markets. The WTI stands for West Texas Intermediate, one of three major types including Brent and Dubai Crude. WTI is also referred to as “light” and “sweet” because of its relatively low gravity and sulfur content respectively. It is considered a high quality Oil that is easily refined. It is sourced in the United States and distributed via the Cushing hub, which is considered “The Pipeline Crossroads of the World”. It is a benchmark for the Oil market and WTI price is frequently quoted in the media.

What factors drive the price of WTI Oil?

Like all assets, supply and demand are the key drivers of WTI Oil price. As such, global growth can be a driver of increased demand and vice versa for weak global growth. Political instability, wars, and sanctions can disrupt supply and impact prices. The decisions of OPEC, a group of major Oil-producing countries, is another key driver of price. The value of the US Dollar influences the price of WTI Crude Oil, since Oil is predominantly traded in US Dollars, thus a weaker US Dollar can make Oil more affordable and vice versa.

How does inventory data impact the price of WTI Oil

The weekly Oil inventory reports published by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Energy Information Agency (EIA) impact the price of WTI Oil. Changes in inventories reflect fluctuating supply and demand. If the data shows a drop in inventories it can indicate increased demand, pushing up Oil price. Higher inventories can reflect increased supply, pushing down prices. API’s report is published every Tuesday and EIA’s the day after. Their results are usually similar, falling within 1% of each other 75% of the time. The EIA data is considered more reliable, since it is a government agency.

How does OPEC influence the price of WTI Oil?

OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) is a group of 13 Oil-producing nations who collectively decide production quotas for member countries at twice-yearly meetings. Their decisions often impact WTI Oil prices. When OPEC decides to lower quotas, it can tighten supply, pushing up Oil prices. When OPEC increases production, it has the opposite effect. OPEC+ refers to an expanded group that includes ten extra non-OPEC members, the most notable of which is Russia.

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