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Oil ends lower Thursday after U.S. benchmark briefly climbs above $95 a barrel – MarketWatch


Williams Watts and Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

EnergiesNet.com 09 28 2023

Oil futures ended sharply lower Thursday, giving up gains that had seen the U.S. benchmark trade above the $95-a-barrel threshold for the first time in a year as investors weighed tightening U.S. crude inventories.

Price action

  • West Texas Intermediate crude for November delivery CL00, -2.01% CL.1, -2.01% CLX23, -2.01% fell $1.97, or 2.1%, to end at $91.71 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after trading as high as $95.03.

  • November Brent crude BRNX23, -0.25%, the global benchmark, settled at $95.38 a barrel, down $1.17, or 1.2%, on ICE Futures Europe, after hitting a session high of $97.69.

  • Back on Nymex, October gasoline RBV23, -3.27% dropped 3.6% to $2.505 a gallon.

  • October heating oil HOV23, 0.61% rose 0.1% to $3.318 a gallon.

  • November natural gas NGX23, 1.69% rose 1.6% to $2.945 per million British thermal units.

Market drivers

“Oil was ripe for a pullback. After coming a few dollars short of the $100 level, energy traders are quickly locking in profits given the turbulence happening in the bond market,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, in a note.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note BX:TMUBMUSD10Y traded near 3.70% in earlier activity before pulling back. A sharp rise in yields to 16-year highs is stirring fears over the economic outlook and sparking volatility across financial markets.

“Crude demand destruction will clearly happen globally if this bond market selloff extends,” Moya said, while tight supplies otherwise continue to underpin a crude rally.

See: 4 reasons oil prices are surging toward $100 a barrel

The Energy Information Administration on Wednesday reported that crude stocks at the Cushing, Okla., delivery hub fell to under 22 million barrels. Analysts at Saxo Bank said that is close to operational minimums and lowest since the seasonal lows of 2014.

“Market focus is shifting back to the tightening in the physical market, which outweighs a weakening risk appetite amid broader market jitters,” said UBS analysts led by Henri Patricot.

The inventories data energized a Wednesday rally that saw the U.S. benchmark log its highest close in nearly 13 months.


The drop in U.S. inventories comes as Saudi Arabia and Russia have extended their production cuts until the end of the year.

“Heading into winter, worries about supply tightness may continue pushing prices north, but whether this will evolve into a long-lasting uptrend is questionable. The challenges facing China and Europe, the two largest oil consumers in the world behind the U.S., could further dent demand, something that may start being reflected in prices at some point in the future,” said Charalampos Pissouros, senior investment analyst at XM.

Meanwhile, the EIA on Thursday reported natural gas in storage rose by 90 billion cubic feet, or Bcf, last week. Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Commodity Insights, on average, had expected an 88 Bcf injection.

marketwatch.com 09 28 2023

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