Tomorrow, August 10, brings a new weekly report on the state of crude oil inventories in the United States with oil markets looking to calculate a timetable for the restoration of supply/demand balance.
Uncertainty over those inventory numbers was enough to bring the recent recovery from the bear market in oil to a halt. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate slipped 0.07% to $42.74 a barrel.
Adding to the pause was the monthly forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on U.S. production through 2017. The EIA now expects U.S. production to average 8.7 million barrels a day in 2016 and 8.3 million barrels a day in 2017. The agency also lowered its price forecast to $41.16 for West Texas crude in 2016 and to $51.58 on average for 2017.
Wednesday’s weekly inventory level was forecast to have dropped by 1.5 million barrels in the week, according to a Bloomberg survey of industry analysts ahead of the actual figures. That same survey showed analysts expecting that gasoline inventories would decline by 1.3 million barrels. Gasoline inventories have been the driver on oil prices recently since refineries are in the midst of an earlier than usual transition from gasoline-heavy summer production.