The price of Mont Belvieu, Texas, butane responded to high inventories by weakening to a 32-month low last week as fall-offs across the board pulled the hypothetical NGL barrel down 6.7% to its low for the year.
By contrast, a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed that U.S. crude oil inventories fell by 4 million barrels (MMbbl) in the week ending May 3, defying analysts’ prediction of a 1.2 MMbbl increase. The news pushed oil up by 72 cents to $62.12 a barrel on May 8, a 1.2% gain.
But the Trump administration on May 8 added sanctions against Iranian metals exports and alerted European allies to cease doing business with Tehran. Oil-rich Venezuela’s standoff between its sitting president and its U.S.-backed opposition does not appear close to a resolution. And escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China, with the administration threatening to raise tariffs on May 10 from 10% to 25% on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, are not helping.