Published: Thu, January 25, 2018
Markets | By Josh Butler

USA crude oil tops $65 for first time since 2014

USA crude oil tops $65 for first time since 2014

That's helping push up the price of WTI said Phil Flynn, analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago, "because Cushing is draining like a cheap canoe".

The price of a barrel of North America's crude oil benchmark topped $65 U.S. for the first time since 2014 on Wednesday, pushed up by new data showing crude inventories have now declined for 10 weeks in a row.

The Brent North Sea benchmark was registered at $ 69.33 per barrel, while United States light crude was at $ 63.80 per barrel.

Over the past four weeks, demand for all petroleum products jumped more than 8 percent from the same period a year earlier to 20.5 million barrels a day.

NEW YORK, Jan 24 (Reuters) - U.S. oil prices rose on Wednesday, boosted by a record 10th straight weekly decline in U.S. crude inventories, though reduced refining activity and rising production signalled U.S. stocks should rise in coming weeks. But while US output is approaching records, many drillers are focusing on improving their finances and returning money to shareholders rather than funding new production. Gasoline stockpiles rose by 3.1 million barrels. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal were expecting a 2.5 million barrel increase in gasoline supplies and anticipated that diesel supplies would fall by 2 million barrels. Demand for stored supplies in the world's biggest economy has been robust at a time of year when it's usually weak because of refinery repairs, all against the backdrop of Opec production curbs. Gasoline demand averaged 8.7 million barrels per day, up by 5.4% from the same period a year ago. The Energy Information Administration also revealed that over the last month, crude oil imports averaged 7.9 million barrels per day, 2.5% less than the same month previous year. OPEC agreed to slash the output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January 1.

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Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley both upped their forecasts for crude prices this week, while Goldman Sachs said the risk of prices overshooting its current target is mounting.

But for now, OPEC appears to be staying the course.

"Demand is outpacing supply", Brian Kessens, who helps manage US$16 billion in energy assets at Tortoise Capital Advisors LLC, said by telephone.

Dan Molinski contributed to this article.

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