Oil inventories up significantly in US
Crude oil prices dropped yet again on Thursday after US inventories were shown to be up significantly in the week ending January 12. Crude oil stockpiles were up by 6.8 million barrels, far above predictions that inventories would rise by a mere 100,000 barrels. Increased imports were said to be the main reason for the large increase. Gasoline stockpiles were also up more than had been expected, growing by 3.5 million barrels against an expectation that they would increase by 2.2 million barrels during the week. Meanwhile, supplies of distillates grew by 900,000 barrels, less than the 1.9 million barrels that had been anticipated. 400,000 of those distillate barrels were heating oil; the total holding of heating oil in stockpiles grew to 60.3 million barrels.
Brent crude March contracts dropped $1.19 to $51.59 per barrel late in the afternoon in London after having gone as low as $50.91 per barrel earlier in the session. West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery was down $1.69 per barrel in early afternoon trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange, to $50.55 per barrel after an earlier drop to as low as $50.05 per barrel.
In the metals markets on Thursday, nickel hit a new record of $36,000 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange but dropped back later in the day for a decline of $150 on the session to $35,350 per tonne. There was a report that a ship carrying up to 1,000 tonnes of nickel had been damaged and was adrift in the English channel. Meanwhile, three-month aluminium added $11 on the session to trade at $2,689 per tonne, while the cash price was at $2,804 per tonne.