Oil Pushes Higher in Early Trade

Liubov Georges
By  Liubov Georges , DTN Energy Reporter

WASHINGTON (DTN) -- New York Mercantile Exchange oil futures and Brent crude on the Intercontinental Exchange pushed higher in pre-inventory trade Wednesday, with advances led by the front-month RBOB contract following a surprise drawdown in gasoline stocks and smaller-than-expected build in domestic crude supply reported in industry data, while 17 states look to partially reopen their economies by the end of this week.

Further boosting June West Texas Intermediate futures, the U.S. dollar eased, trading near a two-week low 99.595 cent in overnight activity ahead of the advanced reading for first quarter U.S. gross domestic product due out 8:30 a.m. ET. First quarter U.S. GDP is expected to have contracted by an annualized 3.7% rate as the country implemented initial measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As lockdowns proliferated into April, the economy is projected to contract by staggering 39.6% in the second quarter, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

U.S. Federal Open Market Committee's two-day meeting concludes Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET, with no revisions expected to be made to the current near zero federal funds rate.

In early trading, NYMEX June WTI futures gained $1.63 to $13.97 barrel (bbl) and next-month delivery July contract narrowed its premium against the front-month contract to $4.76 bbl. June Brent futures on the Intercontinental Exchange traded above $21 bbl and July Brent moved up $0.92 to $23.66 bbl ahead of assuming front-month position on Friday. May ULSD futures advanced 2.12 cents to $0.6520, bouncing off a $0.58 18-year low on the spot continuous chart, with June ULSD futures trading at an 8.6 cents premium.

NYMEX May RBOB futures surged 3.08 cents to $0.6980 gallon, with the June contact expanding its premium to 4.21 cents ahead of the May contract's expiration Thursday afternoon.

Demand for gasoline is expected to have increased for a third week through April 24 after more than a dozen states began to ease restrictions on personal travel and businesses. Several more states will lift "shelter-at-place" orders after they expire on Thursday, including Texas, Florida, and Ohio.

American Petroleum Institute reported gasoline stocks dropped 1.108 million bbl in the week ended April 24 and crude oil stocks increased by a less-than-expected 9.978 million bbl. If realized in data released 10:30 a.m. ET by the Energy Information Administration, U.S. commercial crude supplies would have increased 58.6 million bbl over the last five weeks. At the Cushing, Oklahoma-hub crude stocks increased 2.486 million bbl last week, while API showed distillate stockpiles soared 5.462 million bbl.

Liubov Georges can be reached at liubov.georges@dtn.com


Liubov Georges