WTI Crude Oil Approaches Weekly Low at $88.80 Amid Fed’s Hawkish Remarks

WTI Crude Oil Approaches Weekly Low at $88.80 Amid Fed’s Hawkish Remarks

The price of Western Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is currently teetering around the $88.80 mark, perilously close to approaching a weekly low of $88.60. This decline in WTI prices follows closely on the heels of a noteworthy development in the financial landscape: the Federal Reserve (Fed) has opted to maintain the current interest rate, accompanied by a slew of hawkish statements during a press conference held on Wednesday.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell delivered a resolute message, underlining the Fed’s steadfast commitment to achieving a 2% inflation rate and affirming their readiness to raise interest rates if deemed necessary. These remarks have undeniably contributed to the mounting downward pressure on oil prices. The rationale is clear: higher interest rates tend to elevate borrowing costs, a factor that can potentially slow down economic activity, thereby reducing the overall demand for oil.

Interestingly, on the same day, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman provided some clarity on OPEC’s recent decision to curtail oil production. Contrary to earlier speculations, he emphasized that the primary objective of this move was to sustain market stability rather than to extend support to Russia in its ongoing conflict with Ukraine. It’s worth noting that the voluntary production cuts implemented by Saudi Arabia and Russia, the world’s top two oil exporters, have lent considerable support to WTI prices in recent weeks. Both nations have pledged to continue constraining their oil output until the conclusion of 2023. Saudi Arabia, in particular, intends to keep its output at approximately 1.3 million barrels per day during this extended period.

Adding to the intricacies of the oil market, the American Petroleum Institute (API) issued its weekly report on Wednesday, revealing a substantial decline of nearly 5.25 million barrels in US crude oil inventories for the week ending September 15. This figure starkly contrasts with the previous week’s increase of 1.174 million barrels, confounding market expectations that had anticipated a more modest drawdown of 2.7 million barrels. Furthermore, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) chimed in with its report, registering a decrease of 2.135 million barrels in crude oil stockpiles for the same period. This followed the prior week’s surprise uptick of 3.954 million barrels. The market had anticipated a drawdown of 2.2 million barrels, again underscoring the unpredictable nature of oil inventory fluctuations.

Looking ahead, the trajectory of WTI crude oil prices remains contingent on several economic indicators. Oil traders will be closely tracking data releases such as the US weekly Jobless Claims, the Philly Fed Index, and Existing Home Sales figures, all scheduled for publication later on Thursday. Additionally, Friday’s release of the preliminary US S&P Global PMI for September holds the potential to significantly impact the price of WTI crude oil. As these data points emerge, oil traders will diligently scrutinize the information to identify trading opportunities aligned with the evolving dynamics of WTI prices.