Oil prices mixed ahead of U.S. crude stocks data

Oil prices were mixed on Wednesday as Brent crude extended losses partly in response to weak global stock markets, but U.S. crude rose slightly after industry data showed an unexpected fall in inventories in the United States.

Brent crude futures, an international benchmark for oil prices, were down 20 cents at $58.69 a barrel by 1040 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 7 cents to $53.69 a barrel.

Front-month WTI prices settled down for a sixth straight session on Tuesday, their longest losing streak this year, after U.S. manufacturing activity dropped to a 10-year low as U.S.-China trade tensions weighed on exports.

But prices found some support from American Petroleum Institute (API) data which showed U.S. crude stocks fell last week by 5.9 million barrels, against expectations for an increase of 1.6 million barrels. [API/S]

“It seems to be a fight between two opposing forces; On the bullish side another draw in U.S. inventories, on the bearish side concerns on weaker economic data, and currently ebbing tensions in the oil market,” said Giovanni Staunovo, an oil analyst at UBS.

“I still hold a constructive outlook short-term,” he added.

The Energy Information Administration’s weekly oil inventories report is due at 1030 EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday. [EIA/S]

“Even if the EIA were to confirm the API crude oil number this afternoon, the momentum off a single number can easily fade as the economy is front and center for global markets right now,” said Harry Tchilinguirian, global oil strategist at BNP Paribas.

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said he expected a slight surplus on the oil supply side next year.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said OPEC and other oil producers need to coordinate more closely to reduce market volatility. He said oil prices were stable for now but the market outlook was uncertain.

United Arab Emirates Minister of Energy and Industry Suhail al-Mazrouei said OPEC and its allies were monitoring global oil markets, and that conformity levels were the same as previously announced at the last OPEC+ joint ministerial monitoring committee meeting.

Meanwhile, Ecuador, one of the smallest members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said it would leave the 14-nation bloc from Jan. 1 due to fiscal problems. Ecuador will be the second country to withdraw from OPEC in the last year after the departure of Qatar.

Source: News Agencies