Oil fundamentals clearer as geopolitics gets muddier

Even as the picture gets clearer on the status of the physical fundamentals underlying oil markets today, the geopolitical outlook just gets more scrambled.The only reason futures prices retreated a bit in mid-October was a larger-than-expected buildup in commercial crude stocks. The American Petroleum Institute reported that US commercial crude stocks rose by 8.9 million bbl the week ended Oct. 11.But, as Merrill Lynch analysts noted, total oil stocks rose a mere 500,000 bbl in the same week, as the big rise in crude stocks was offset to a substantial degree by "unseasonably large draws" on gasoline, jet fuel, and distillate."While some catching up in the numbers, particularly for crude,...

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