Oil edges up after sharp United States crude inventory drop

Headache for OPEC as oil market structure signals return of glut

Crude Oil Stocks Change in the US was -10.6 million barrels in the week ending July 24th, the weekly report published by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) revealed on Wednesday.

Brent crude futures settled at US$43.75 a barrel, up 53 USA cents or 1.2 per cent.

Citing statistics, on Tuesday's commodity market closure, United Kingdom crude futures' prices fell by 0.40 per cent to $43.22 per barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures' prices were pummelled 1.4 per cent to $41.04 a barrel, however, the Brent and US WTI crude oil futures' prices have been on track for reporting their fourth and third straight month of gains respectively.

Prices were anchored on Thursday by demand concerns with a rise in COVID-19 infections raising the prospect for lockdowns to be reimposed.

Even though experts agree that the likelihood is zero, USA president Donald Trump on Thursday tweeting that the November presidential elections should be delayed to ensure safe voting during the Covid pandemic caused panic among traders and a corresponding loss in oil prices.

Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil markets at Oslo-based Rystad Energy, said traders will next week closely monitor oil output increases by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies.

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"It wasn't all good news, with signs that demand is still struggling to grow", ANZ analysts said in a note.

In coronavirus news, several US states in the South and West reported their biggest one-day increase in coronavirus deaths Tuesday, fueling a bitter debate over the reopening of schools in the coming weeks.

A record number of new coronavirus infections were reported globally, while in the United States, deaths from the novel coronavirus were approaching 150,000, the highest level in the world and rising by 10,000 in 11 days, according to a Reuters tally.

Indian refiners are cutting crude processing and shutting units for maintenance as fuel demand falters, officials at the companies said.

Attempts to provide relief amid the outbreak were in disarray after US Republicans on Tuesday disagreed over their own plan for providing US$1 trillion in new coronavirus aid.

Analysts are concerned about the risks to any U.S. recovery, while a new Federal Reserve policy statement due to be released later on Wednesday afternoon will show how seriously central bankers assess them.

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