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Crude oil falls for a third session while US stocks rise

Quantum Commodity Intelligence – Crude oil futures during Asian trading hours were lower for a third session on Wednesday as benchmarks continued the broader downtrend of the past week.

Front month July 24 ICE Brent futures were traded $85.23/b (0750 GMT), compared to Tuesday’s settlement of $86.33/b.

Simultaneously June 24 NYMEX WTI acted on $80.78/bversus Tuesday’s settlement of $81.93/b.

Markets retreated early in the session after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed crude inventories rose by nearly 5 million barrels last week, exceeding expectations.

This included a decrease of almost 1.5 million barrels at the main Cushing hub, the NYMEX delivery point.

However, the increase in crude oil was partially offset by a drop in gasoline inventories of 1.5 million barrels, while distillates fell by more than 2 million barrels, according to the API industry.

Prices also fell as ceasefire negotiations in Gaza continued, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on Hamas to accept a ceasefire and hostage deal.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated his plans to launch a ground offensive in Rafah regardless of the success of ceasefire talks.

Meanwhile, a Reuters production survey showed OPEC cut production by 100,000 barrels per day to 26.49 million barrels per day in April, due to lower exports from Iran, Iraq and Nigeria.

A Reuters poll of economists and analysts surveyed in the second half of April forecast Brent to average $84.62/b in 2024, compared with an average projection of $82.33/b in the survey March.