A tight spread between international crude benchmarks Brent and West Texas Intermediate has depressed US crude export flows during the past four weeks, according to sources and data from US Customs and S&P Global Platts Analytics. However, low freight rates have created opportunities to move US crude cheaply. The US exported 2.35 million b/d for the week ending April 5 – the lowest outflow since January 25, when 1.94 million b/d was exported, according to weekly data from the US Energy Information Administration. An estimated 2.28 million b/d of crude was exported from the US last week, according to Platts Analytics and data from Platts trade-flow software cFlow. This is the lowest estimated total reported since February 8. US crude exports were hindered in late January and February as dense fog along the Gulf Coast impacted vessel traffic. Values for US crudes for export have been pressured lower on a narrow spread, which indicates a decrease in the competitiveness of WTI-based crudes on the global market as they become closer in price to their Brent-based peers. The front-month swap spread last week reached $6.20/b – its narrowest level since July 26, 2018. However, the spread began widening again, reaching $6.99/b… continue reading
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Source: CTRM Center