WTI traded above $70 a barrel for the second straight session

Recap It was a rollercoaster ride for oil futures on Thursday, with WTI trading above $70 a barrel for the second straight session, drawing support from higher-than-forecast U.S. inflation data. The climb above $70 only to come crashing down below $69 a barrel on an unconfirmed report that the U.S. lifted sanctions against Iran. This sharp decline was short lived, lasting only 5 minutes, as news broke that the aforementioned report was incorrect. A quick jump ensued, taking July WTI back above $70, where it spent the remainder of the session. This spot contract settled at $70.29 a barrel, up 33 cents, or 0.47%. This was the highest settlement for a spot contract in over two-years. Brent for August delivery ended up 30 cents, or 0.42%, to settle at $72.52 a barrel. July RBOB gained 0.97 cent per gallon, or 0.44%, to settle at $2.2122 a gallon, the second highest settlement this year.  July heating oil rose nearly 0.7% to $2.14 a gallon.

Technical Analysis: The rebound in oil prices suggests that buyers are still in this market, despite the weak gasoline report that came out this week. Traders appear to be of the sentiment that this will be short-lived and demand will pick up throughout the summer. Traders may also be thinking that the gasoline inventory number is a bit distorted due to the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline. That being said, we still think that this market will continue to work higher. With the July WTI above $70, we would look for a stretch toward $75. Support is seen at $68 and below that at $66.43.

Fundamental News: OPEC continues to predict a strong world oil demand recovery in 2021 led by the United States and China, although it cited uncertainties around the path of the pandemic.  In a monthly report, OPEC said demand would increase by 5.95 million bpd this year, or by 6.6%.  OPEC sees 2021 world economic growth at 5.5%, unchanged from last month, assuming the impact of the pandemic will have been "largely contained" by the beginning of the second half.  The report showed higher OPEC oil output, reflecting the decision to produce more and gains from Iran, exempt from making voluntary cuts due to U.S. sanctions. OPEC's output in May increased by 390,000 bpd to 25.46 million bpd.  Saudi Arabia notified OPEC that it increased its output in May by 410,000 bpd to 8.54 million bpd.  Demand for OPEC crude will average 29 million bpd in the final six months of the year.  OPEC raised its forecast for 2021 non-OPEC oil supply growth by 130,000 bpd to 840,000 bpd.  OPEC also reported that OECD oil stocks in April were 34 million barrels above the 2015-2019 five year average.  

According to Reuters calculations based on data from oil analytics firm Vortexa, traders loaded about 3.8 million barrels of gasoline and blending components from Asia, mainly South Korea and India, bound for the United States in May, up more than 51% on the month. 

TC Energy Corp. said it was walking away from the Keystone XL pipeline project, ending a decade-plus battle between the energy industry and environmentalists as oil sands producers sought to export Canadian crude. 

Saudi Arabia produced 8.544 million bpd in May, indicating it has unwound its voluntary extra output cut at a faster pace than it originally announced. 

S&P Global Platts reported Saudi Aramco has not yet embarked on work to expand its maximum sustained production capacity to 13 million b/d from 12 million b/d.

Farrokh Alikhani, who serves as deputy for production at the NIOC, said the company will be able to restore a majority of output lost due to U.S. sanctions in less than a month. 

Early Market Call – as of 8:30 AM EDT

WTI – July $70.23, down 6 cents

RBOB – July $2.1710, down 4.11 cents

HO – July $2.1040, down 3.92 cents

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