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The biggest drag on US equities overnight was the energy sector, which lost 2% and pushed the S&P 500 down 0.2%. Oil prices saw their biggest collapse in a month, after US EIA crude oil inventories surged above market expectations. WTI oil dropped 3.3% as oil imports surged to 8.9 million barrels per day.
The oil market is incredibly diversified, but major production regions around the world provide limited data on their production and inventories. Actually calculating global oil supply and demand balances requires a fair amount of educated guesswork. But the large presumed global oil inventories look to be starting to show up in the regular and high quality weekly US EIA data. Declining US shale production is more than being made up for by surging foreign imports. This is a necessary transition for the long term rebalancing of the global oil market, but it is unlikely to be met with relish by the oil spot price as the true extent of global inventories becomes clearer in the US EIA data.
After WTI oil’s big 3.3% drop, it is sitting right on key technical support levels at US$44-45.