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Rising Oil Prices Fueled by Saudi Warning and Depleting U.S. Reserves

Robust oil prices surge as Saudi Arabia issues a stern warning to short-sellers and U.S. stockpiles tighten.

Oil tanker
Oil tanker

Saudi Warning Fuels Oil Price Increase

Oil prices increased considerably on Wednesday, spurred by a confluence of diminishing U.S. reserves and a stern warning issued by the Saudi energy minister. The prospect of further OPEC+ production cuts, indicated by Saudi Arabia's energy minister's message to short-sellers to be wary, contributed significantly to this trend. Several investors interpreted this hint as a potential sign that OPEC and allies, including Russia, known collectively as OPEC+, might contemplate additional output reductions in their upcoming meeting on June 4.

U.S. Crude Oil Stockpiles Contract

The latest industry data indicates a sharp decline in U.S. crude oil and fuel inventories, supporting the surge in oil prices. Market sources quoting American Petroleum Institute (API) figures report that crude inventories plummeted by roughly 6.8 million barrels in the past week, with gasoline inventories dipping by approximately 6.4 million. Should the Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirm these statistics on Wednesday, U.S. gasoline reserves would have fallen for the third consecutive week, marking the lowest levels observed before Memorial Day since 2014.

Fuel Demand and Market Uncertainties

The Memorial Day holiday in the United States, observed this year on May 29, traditionally marks the onset of the peak summer travel season, leading to increased fuel demand. However, unresolved debt ceiling discussions, which ended on Tuesday without any progress, are exerting pressure on broader markets as the deadline to escalate the government's borrowing limit inches closer. Moreover, the upward price trend was limited by news of Britain's persistently high inflation rate declining less than anticipated last month, which increased the likelihood of further interest rate hikes.