Global product markets weekly: Global refiners endure a weak margin environment
Global crude prices increased for the fifth consecutive week during the week commencing 17th September, as the average weekly Dated Brent price edged towards US$80/bbl. Prices were supported as Iran crude exports remain low in light of the upcoming US sanctions. Exports may decrease even further over the coming weeks as refiners reduce their exposure to Iran. The US sanctions on Iran have already reduced the availability of crude supply. This is supported by the recent 2 mbbl draw in US crude stocks, although unfavourable weather events are likely to have played a role. WTI prices increased more than Brent as Cushing stocks fell and commercial operations of the Sunrise pipeline are expected to start up in November, which will ease some of the bottlenecks in the Permian basin. The Brent-WTI spread narrowed towards US$8/bbl from a 3.5 year high set in the previous week.