In the LOOP: US crude exports in a lull following record-breaking summer

US crude oil exports let up in recent weeks after reaching a record-breaking 3 million b/d in June, federal data show. Some 1.2 million b/d of crude oil was exported by the US in the week that ended August. 17, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The US has not loaded less barrels for export since the week that ended January 5. While that is a relatively low level in 2018 terms, it is a more than 23% increase from the same week in 2017, when 936,000 b/d was exported. Traders say several factors are contributing to the recent drop in US exports. A narrowing spread between Brent and WTI during much of July, a strengthening dollar, trade tensions between the US and China and increased domestic demand have all contributed to fewer cargoes loading for export, they say. “Some deals are getting done,” one US crude broker said. “Just not as many.” US crude market sources say the export market has been rather quiet in recent weeks and report that “the arbitrage closed.” The front-month Brent-WTI swaps spread, an indicator of US crudes’ competitiveness on the global market, narrowed sharply after reaching what were very wide levels historically… continue reading

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