Is USO Outperforming WTI Crude Oil?

Record US Crude Oil Inventories versus Higher OPEC Compliance

West Texas Intermediate crude futures had fallen 8 cents, or 0,2%, to US$53,93 a barrel by 0023 GMT, while Brent crude was yet to start trading. Demand growth has been reasonably solid, above the recent trend line in 2015 and 2016, but an expanding supply has continued to push up crude oil inventories. Larger cuts in Saudi Arabia and Angola helped offset production increases in Libya and Iran. Recently, the Iranian Oil Minister said that an oil rally above $60 a barrel would ultimately hurt OPEC because it would spur competitors to boost production and trigger a medium-term price drop.

In part, this stems from our skepticism that the Saudis will want to exert a stronger "pull" on US production by extending the OPEC cuts beyond the agreed-upon six-month period.

According to government and exchange data, hedge and commodity funds remained locked-in on the long side at record levels, however, all this has been able to do is support the market on price dips. Lower than expected compliance from the top non-OPEC producer could have a negative impact on the production cut agreement between 24 countries.

Once oil crossed $50 a barrel mark, the United States shale oil suppliers have increased their production and drilling activity.

The investors are now awaiting the weekly official inventory data from the US Energy Information Administration.

During the first full year since the sanctions were lifted, Iran has boosted exports to its biggest Asian customers by almost 60 percent to 1.63mn bpd. Acknowledging the economic diversification efforts of OPEC members that were forced on them by the price crash, Barkindo said the importance of oil in helping to achieve this diversification was not to be underestimated.

According to AAA, the current national average pump price per gallon of regular gasoline is $2.30, up from $2.285 a week ago and up about 1.2 cents compared with the month-ago price.

Zangeneh further announced that the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum is bent on raising export of petroleum products, adding gasoil and petrol will be the only main liquids consumed in Iran's energy mix by next year.

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