Oil prices embraced higher volatility today as concerns over the piling global oil reserves weighed on traders. Moreover, the deadly blasts in Brussels rocked investors’ risk appetites, who rushed towards safe assets such as gold. WTI Crude is down 1% today, while Brent is oupterforming, down only 0.5%.
Oil prices have been sticking around $40 per barrel level since last week as traders are looking forward to some tangible action from oil producers. To date, OPEC has been unable to provide any solid evidence of forming an agreement over an output freeze. The recent rise in rig count in the U.S. has added to the anxiety of the market.
Rise in rig count
Michael Poulsen, an oil analyst at Global Risk Management, said that the signs showing activation of uncompleted wells could bar oil prices from rising any higher. A report from the American Petroleum Institute, on the status of weekly crude stockpiles in the U.S. will be a significant datapoint going forward.
Meanwhile, the upcoming meeting between oil exporting countries, which is scheduled to take place on April 17 will be critical in deciding the direction of the commodity. While bigger oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia and Russia have come forward to take collective action towards supporting oil prices, producers such as Iran have backed off from the deal in the wake of its target to claim more market share, most of which was lost due to Western sanctions.
Amidst such developments, one key update, which could prove to be beneficial for the oil market is the import data of crude revealed by China that jumped 24% year-on-year. The uptick in demand in China is a healthy sign for the commodity as the country is the second largest consumer of oil.
The iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return (NYSEARCA:OIL) posted a gain of 0.53% to $5.69 during the previous trading session.