Oil Advances on Signs US Stockpile Gains Easing After Harvey

Will the FOMC Meeting Drive the US Dollar and Crude Oil Futures

Oil prices dipped early on Monday but remained near multi-month highs reached late last week as the count of US rigs drilling for new production fell and refineries continued to start up after having been knocked out by Hurricane Harvey.

U.S. crude stockpiles rose to 472.8 million barrels last week, while inventories at the crucial trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, climbed to the highest since June and crude production increased for a second straight week. Refinery utilization rates rose by 5.5 percentage points.

"Demand is clearly coming back, so there is a need for refining to come back online".

This was despite Iraq's oil minister saying earlier today that his country's oil production was now at 4.32 million barrels per day (bpd), down from nearly 4.5 million bpd in May and June, Reuters noted, and other data showing that Saudi Arabia's crude exports fell to 6.693 million bpd in July, down from 6.889 million bpd in June. Official weekly data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is expected later Wednesday.

Meanwhile, an OPEC committee concluded the cartel and allied oil producers overshot production curbs called for in their agreement, according to two delegates.

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Brent for November settlement advanced $1.03 to $56.17 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

The West Texas Intermediate for October delivery increased 0.93 US 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 39 percent below the 100-day average. The more-active November futures contract climbed 95 cents to $50.85.

"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 global benchmark crude traded at a premium of $5.32 to November WTI.

"Any increase in the production from the spring of 2018 would...generate renewed oversupply in the oil market and put prices under pressure", the analysts wrote in a note Wednesday.

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