Global oil markets extended declines Wednesday as a stronger dollar and rising output forecasts continue to pressure crude prices ahead of a series of updates on domestic energy inventories.
The American Petroleum Institute will publish its weekly estimate of domestic crude stocks at 4:30 eastern time, with official data from the Energy Information Administration to follow Thursday that is expected to show an increase of around 1.3 million barrels for the week ending Feb. 13, according to estimates published by Reuters. That gain, along with a daily production rate of more than 10 million barrels -- the highest on record -- is starting to trim global crude prices even as OPEC reiterates its commitment with allies such as Russia to trim output by 1.8 million barrels a day until at least the end of the year.
Brent crude futures contracts for April delivery, the global benchmark, were marked 0.4% lower at $65 per barrel while WTI contracts for the same month, which are more closely-linked to U.S. prices, were seen around .8% lower from their Tuesday close in New York at $61.30 per barrel.
The dollar's recent surge -- it's up more than 1.8 since hitting a three-year low last week -- once again had a heavy influence on trading in Asia, pushing oil prices lower and disrupting pricing in regional stocks.
The WTI declines are also notable for the fact that they're now trading back below the level of so-called Dubai crude, a contract used to price deliveries to emerging markets in Asia and elsewhere. Earlier this week, WTI prices traded above Dubai crude costs for the first time since December 2016, a move that could pressure U.S. exports to the region as buyers opt for cheaper alternatives.
That said, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said Wednesday that risks to its Brent price estimate of between $50 and $70 a barrel were "skewed to the upside" even as it said that improvements in share oil technology could limit price gains in the coming years.
"We Then Expect (Brent) Prices To Pull Back In 2019 To $60/bbl As U.S. supply responds and OPEC starts to unwind the supply deal," the bank said in a client note.