OIL PRICES: UNDER $46
Light, sweet crude prices for June delivery varied widely on the New York market during Apr. 29 trading, closing at $45.92/bbl after swinging from a daily high of $46.78 and a low of $45.24.
Reuters reported that it obtained statistics from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries suggesting the cartel's April production was up 170,000 b/d from March. OPEC's April production was estimated at 32.64 million b/d, Reuters said.
Separately, Commerzbank analysts noted that OPEC's April output would have been higher without outages in Kuwait, UAE, Venezuela, and Nigeria. In January, OPEC reported cartel production at 32.65 million b/d.
Barclays analysts said Chinese oil demand grew by 180,000 b/d during the first quarter. Traders and analysts closely watch Chinese oil consumption as an indicator of global demand growth.
"A key area to watch is the Chinese car industry," Barclays said. "We believe car sales should remain solid in 2016."
The US drilling rig count declined 11 units to 420 rigs working for the week ended Apr. 29, said the Baker Hughes Inc. report.
The count has fallen in 19 straight weeks, and in 34 of the past 36 weeks.
Martin Craighead, BHI chairman and chief executive officer, expects the US rig count will begin to stabilize during the second half.
"Although we do not expect activity to meaningfully increase in 2016," Craighead said while commenting on an earnings report. "Conversely, the international rig count is predicted to drop steadily through the end of the year as we see limited new projects in the pipeline."
The June crude oil contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped 11¢ to settle at $45.92/bbl on Apr. 29. The July contract dropped 18¢ to $46.69/bbl.
The NYMEX natural gas contract for June gained 10¢ to a rounded $2.18/MMbtu. The Henry Hub price was $1.91/MMbtu, up 2¢.
Heating oil for May delivery fell nearly 2.7¢ to a rounded $1.38/gal. The price for reformulated gasoline stock for oxygenates blending for May dropped 1.3¢ to a rounded $1.58/gal.
The Brent crude contract for June on London's ICE was down 1¢ to $48.13/bbl, and the June contract expired with the Apr. 29 closing. The July contract declined 40¢ to $47.37/bbl. The gas oil contract for May was $413/tonne, down $2.25.
The average price for OPEC's basket of 13 benchmark crudes on Apr. 29 was $42.70/bbl, up 68¢.
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U.S. EIA - Venezuela holds the largest oil reserves in the world, in large part because of the heavy oil reserves in the Orinoco Oil Basin. In addition to oil reserves, Venezuela has sizeable natural gas reserves, although the development of natural gas lags significantly behind that of oil. However, in the wake of political and economic instability in the country, crude oil production has dramatically decreased, reaching a multi-decades low in mid-2018.
U.S. BEA - The U.S. current-account deficit increased to $124.1 billion (preliminary) in the first quarter of 2018 from $116.1 billion (revised) in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The deficit was 2.5 percent of current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter, up from 2.4 percent in the fourth quarter.
WNN - There are 126 operational power reactors in 14 EU Member States, providing more than one-quarter of the bloc's total electricity production. In its Communication on the Nuclear Illustrative Program (PINC) published last year, the European Commission expects nuclear to maintain its significant role in Europe's energy mix up to 2050. This would require investment of some EUR40-50 billion (USD46-58 billion) in nuclear LTO by 2050.
REUTERS - Benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was up 50 cents at $75.58 a barrel by 0835 GMT. U.S. light crude CLc1 was 50 cents higher at $65.57.