Crude Oil Prices – Weekly Recap 19-23 December

Crude oil prices recovered from the sharp drop during the previous week, changed direction during  and promptly climbed up during the week. The recent news from the U.S. of the improvement in the housing market including the gains in the housing starts, and the rise in sales of news homes may have been among the factors to trade up crude oil; furthermore, the rise in core durable goods was a also a positive signal to the slow recovery of the U.S economy; finally, the sharp drop in U.S. crude oil stockpiles might suggest a rise in demand for oil. 

By the end of the week, WTI oil price increased by 6.52% and Brent price by 5.05%; as a result, the difference between Brent oil and WTI oil slipped to $9.62/b on Friday. 

Here is a short review of the development of crude oil price (Brent oil and WTI), and a summary of the recent EIA crude oil and petroleum stockpiles report for the week of December 19th to December 23rd:

Crude Oil Prices – Highlights

table crude oil prices - 19-23 December 2011WTI oil price (spot) sharply rose during last week by 6.52%; its weekly average price also increased by 1.77% to $97.75 per barrel, compared with last week’s $96.05 per barrel. The average daily percent change of crude oil price (WTI) was 1.28%.

NYMEX Futures Price (January delivery) also inclined by 6.58% during the week, and reached $99.68/b on Friday, December 23rd  

Europe Brent oil price also inclined during the week by 5.05% and the average price rose by 1.82% compared with previous week’s average.

The difference of Brent over WTI spot prices moderately declined during the week; its average premium was $10.13; it finished the week at $9.62. The recent rising tensions in the Middle East (mainly in Iran and Syria) may pressure up again the premium of Brent oil over WTI. That being said, the recent news from Libya suggests that the oil production continues to grow: the oil production has passed the million barrels per day and may reach its normal production levels of 1.6 million bbl/day by the middle of next year.

Crude Oil Charts

The following charts show the development of (for the week ending on December 23rd) WTI spot oil price, NYMEX Futures Prices (Short term delivery) and Europe Brent spot oil price:

The first chart shows the development of WTI and Brent oil prices during the week: WTI and Brent oil prices sharply inclined on Tuesday and had an upward trend throughout the week.

Crude oil prices WTI BRENT oil  chart -19-23 December  2011

The second chart presents the daily percent changes (i.e. changes around the trend) of crude oil prices (WTI spot oil, WTI future, Brent spot oil):

Crude oil prices chart WTI Brent oil - percent change  19-23 December 2011

Crude oil prices sharply inclined on Tuesday by nearly 3% to 3.5%, and almost didn’t decline at all during the week.

Crude Oil Stockpiles –Highlights:

According to the last EIA report on the U.S Petroleum market, for the week ending on December 16th, U.S. Petroleum and crude oil stockpiles declined by 18 million barrels to reach 1,733.76 million barrels. The current oil stockpiles are 71,931 million barrels below oil stockpiles levels recorded during the same week in 2010.

For the complete crude oil stockpiles review see here.

For further reading:

Previous issues of weekly report: