Oil Jumps After US Gasoline Stockpiles Plunge to 22-Month Low

Oil markets firm on rising refinery demand, falling US rig count

United States gasoline inventories shrank last week to a level not seen since November 2015 and distillate stockpiles slid by the most since 2011, the Energy Information Administration said. The report showed that US crude supplies climbed by 1.4 million barrels for the week-ended September 15.

Futures jumped 1.9 per cent in NY. "The report shows that we're recovering from the hurricane", Rob Haworth, who helps oversee $US142 billion at US Bank Wealth Management in Seattle, said by telephone.

"OPEC will have no choice but to consider extending the production cuts beyond March 2018", according to analysts at Commerzbank. Refinery utilization rates rose by 5.5 percentage points.

But last week, the International Energy Agency said oil stockpiles in developed countries could hit or fall below their five-year average "very soon," a key target for OPEC as it considers extending the output cuts.

XAutoplay: On | OffIraqi Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said Iraq and Ecuador think there should be another 1% cut in production and hinted that others want the cut extended.

"API yesterday sprung a bit of surprise when only showing a small build in crude stocks and a bigger-than-expected drop in fuel stocks", said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S. "WTI is seeing resistance at $50 because of increased hedging activity from USA producers above that level, which is viewed as a comfortable break-even price for many producers".

The West Texas Intermediate for October delivery increased 0.93 USA dollar to settle at 50.41 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for November delivery added 1.15 dollars to close at 56.29 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange. Total volume traded was about 2% below the 100-day average.

Nov. WTI added 79 cents, or 1.6%, to settle at $50.69/bbl.

Although the front-month gasoline futures contract that expires next week settled little changed at $US1.6551 a gallon, later-dated contracts including the more-heavily traded November futures rose.

Despite major Middle Eastern oil producers insisting that they are reducing supplies in a bid to support oil prices, an excess supply is still expected to put a dampener on the market.

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