On January 11, Beijing time, oil market traders did not receive much information about the outcome of the Sino-US trade negotiations, but optimistic expectations of progress in the negotiations helped oil prices rise. In addition, data show that crude oil production in major oil-producing countries has declined, which also supports oil prices. U.S. crude oil futures closed higher Thursday for the ninth consecutive trading day, setting the longest streak of gains in about nine years. At the same time, international Brent crude oil futures prices also set the longest continuous upward trend in more than 11 years.
West Texas Light Crude Oil (WTI) futures for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 23 cents to $52.59 a barrel, or 0.4%. According to Dow Jones Market Data, this means that WTI futures have reached their highest closing price since December 7 last year. At the same time, this also means that gold futures prices closed up for the ninth consecutive trading day, setting the longest continuous upward trend since January 2010, when they reached a ten-consecutive rise.
Meanwhile, Brent crude oil futures for March delivery on the London ICE European Futures Exchange rose 24 cents to close at $61.68 a barrel, or 0.4%, the highest close since December 4. Brent oil prices also rose for the ninth consecutive trading day, the longest run since September 12, 2007.
U.S. WTI futures have stepped out of bear market on Wednesday, up nearly 24% from the 52-week low of $42.53 a barrel hit on December 24 last year.
Powell stressed Thursday that the Federal Reserve would take a flexible and patient stance, and that if economic conditions deteriorated, it might change policy. He also said that senior Fed officials’expectations that interest rates will be raised twice this year were based on the premise that “the economic outlook for 2019 is very strong”. The Fed’s interest rate hike tends to drive up the dollar, which in general causes prices of commodity futures, such as crude oil, to fall in dollar terms, because investors in other currencies will have higher costs of buying these commodities.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) reported Wednesday that U.S. crude oil stocks fell by 1.7 million barrels in the week ending January 4. By contrast, analysts had expected crude oil inventories to fall by an average of 1.4 million barrels this week, according to a S&P Global Platts survey. In addition, the report showed that gasoline inventories in the United States increased by 8.1 million barrels last week, while distillate oil (including diesel oil and heating oil) inventories increased by 10.6 million barrels, compared with an average of 4.2 million barrels expected by analysts in Standard & Poor’s Global Prussian Survey this week, and 4.3 million barrels of distillate oil inventories.
In other energy trades on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the price of RBOB gasoline futures for February delivery rose 0.4% to $1.431 a gallon, heating oil futures for February delivery rose 1.4% to $1.906 a gallon, and gas futures for February delivery fell 0.5% to $2.969 a million British heat units.
According to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Energy Information Agency, U.S. natural gas stocks fell 91 billion cubic feet (2.6 billion cubic meters) in the week ended Jan. 4, compared with an average of 84 billion cubic feet (2.4 billion cubic meters) in the week before, according to a survey by Standard & Poor’s Global Prussian, and a five-year average of 187 billion cubic inches. Rules (about 5.3 billion cubic meters).