Where is Crude Oil headed?

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Crude Oil has shot past 100$ barrel mark and currently trading above that for quite sometime now. So where is crude oil heading towards? Crude oil prices are influenced by various factors but demand and supply remain the most crucial among them. Inventory data provides a useful snapshot of supply and demand balance.

Globally, crude oil traders take cue from the U.S. weekly surveys hence monitoring this data is of significant prominence. Also, crude oil is an international commodity so international crude data is important to follow. With US being the biggest consumer of crude oil in the world, one can draw some conclusions from its inventory levels, which impact the crude oil price movement.

For the week ended 18 March 2011. U.S. crude inventories rose 2.13 Mn bbls (W-o-W, as against market expectations 1.6 Mn bbls) and 1.5 mn bbls (Y-o-Y) to 352.8 Mn bbls, as imports rose. As we can see Crude oil inventories are at historically high levels.

Despite high inventories in US, crude oil price is trading at substantially high levels mainly due to geo-political issues like Libya etc. Hence over medium to long term,  there is enough data to believe that the crude will come down substantially, once the geopolitical issues get settled.

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