March 24, 2018

Oil price climbs as Opec offers early consensus on renewed deal

20 May 2017, 01:14 | Virginia Santiago

USA crude stocks fell last week as refineries cut output, while gasoline stocks decreased and distillate inventories fell, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

OPEC members agreed in November to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day for six months beginning from the start of the year in a bid to reduce the glut of oil supplies on the shore up prices.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers, including Russian Federation, have pledged to cut output by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of the year.

OPEC will decide formally whether to extend the cuts when its ministers meet in Vienna on May 25.

But a downbeat report from Opec tempered early gains as the producer group said higher-than-expected production from its competitors would reduce demand for its crude this year.

In the United States, crude stockpiles posted their biggest weekly drawdown since December last week as imports dropped sharply, while inventories of refined products also fell.

Calling on U.S. to join in the rebalancing of the global oil market, OPEC said: "a large part of the excess supply overhang contained in floating storage has been reduced and the improvement in the world economy should help support oil demand".

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However, U.S. production rose, and refining runs declined, giving analysts pause about the market's sharp rise. US light crude oil was 69 cents higher at $46.57 a barrel. At 522.5 million barrels, crude stocks were the lowest since February.

In 2018 average output is expected to reach 1.94 million barrels per day in Q1, 1.91 million barrels per day in Q2, 1.94 million barrels per day in Q3 and 1.99 million barrels per day in Q4.

Global benchmark Brent crude was up 68 cents at $49.41 a barrel by 1327 GMT.

So the iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return Index ETN (OIL), climbed 0.8%, extending yesterday's almost 4% surge, and the U.S. Oil Fund (USO) rose 0.9% to $9.94.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia's oil minister Khalid al-Falih said he expected the output deal to be extended to the end of the year or possibly longer. Two OPEC members are exempt from the cut-Nigeria and Libya- and a third member, Iran, was allowed to boost output to a specified level.

Oil was also buoyed by a Reuters report on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia would cut crude supplies to Asia.

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