Gasoline stocks rose by 1.9 million barrels, compared with analysts expectations in a Reuters poll for a 2.3 million-barrel drop. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell by 3.5 million barrels, versus expectations for a 2.6 million-barrel decline, the EIA data showed.
Russia’s TASS news agency, citing an unnamed source, reported that the two countries, the biggest producers in an OPEC-led alliance that has been limiting supply since 2017, have started bilateral talks on the issue.
“I think this is a little bit of verbal intervention, trying to get some speculative length back into the market,” said analyst Olivier Jakob of Petromatrix. “The global supply and demand balance does not look very tight next year.”
While Iranian oil exports are expected to fall because of U.S. sanctions that took effect on Monday, reports from OPEC and other forecasters have indicated that the global market could see a 2019 supply surplus as demand slows.
A ministerial committee of some Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries members and allies, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, is due to meet on Sunday in Abu Dhabi to discuss the market and outlook for 2019.
Any return to limiting supply would follow a June decision by the OPEC-led group to relax output curbs in place since 2017, after pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to cool prices and make up for losses from Iran.