Global oil inventory buildups have been slow to unwind this year as a backlog of supplies from Saudi Arabia and other producers which ramped up output in late-2016 has had to work its way through the system (MEES, 16 June). But Saudi crude exports have now fallen, and with domestic demand growing to peak summer levels, they could well fall further in the coming months.

Since racking up 22 consecutive months of 10mn b/d-plus production up to December 2016, MEES calculates that Saudi output has ranged between 9.93-9.98mn b/d in the first five months of the year. The upshot has been a gradual decline in crude exports that looks set to continue. The latest figures from Riyadh-based Jodi show that crude exports averaged 7.006mn b/d in April, markedly down on Q1’s 7.301mn b/d, which was itself the lowest since Q3 2015. (CONTINUED - 1265 WORDS)