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OIL: Oil struggled in Asia hours, Brent & WTI last ~$0.60 below their respective
settlement levels, with risk sentiment hampered by Coronavirus worry. This came
after crude relented early gains on Wednesday, as the major benchmarks settled
lower. The weekly DoE inventory report revealed a larger than expected build in
headline crude stocks (at odds with the surprise drawdown seen in the API
estimate). Elsewhere, DoE gasoline stocks revealed a smaller than expected
build, with distillate stocks revealing a larger than expected drawdown. Stocks
at Cushing edged higher, with refinery run rates falling.
- The aforementioned API inventory estimate helped put a modest bid into the
space ahead of European hours on Wednesday, before a spike to highs on the back
of the Yemeni Houthis declaring a missile attack on Saudi crude facilities.
However, the accuracy of the attack was played down, as Saudi officials
suggested that no serious damage was incurred, so crude eased pre-DoE.
- On the OPEC+ front, the Algerian Energy Min suggested that the group's March
meeting could be rolled forward into February. Meanwhile, Platts noted that OPEC
is preparing a report re: the impact of the Coronavirus on crude markets.