Saturday, 23 February, 2019

US oil, gasoline inventories up in latest week

US oil prices edge up as market eyes tighter supply Venezuelan opposition readies U.S. fund to receive oil revenue
Priscilla Morrison | 07 February, 2019, 14:51

Higher American output is threatening to offset cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies.

Oil prices slipped on Thursday after U.S. crude inventories rose and the country's production held at record levels, but OPEC-led supply cuts and Washington's sanctions against Venezuela supported markets.

"While Venezuela's output reportedly rose last month, fresh United States sanctions on the country could see 0.5 to 1 percent of global supply curtailed", said Vivek Dhar, commodities analyst for Commonwealth Bank of Australia in a note on Monday.

Following a USA decision to impose sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry last week, Guaido and the Trump administration have sought to appoint a new board of directors for Citgo. “The political crisis in Venezuela was part of the reason prices were rising in previous weeks, but this seems to have been priced in by now, ” said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at Forex.com.

During the remainder of Q1 2019, the capital company expects a gradual lift in prices as OPEC data confirm compliance to the agreement and OECD oil stocks begin to fall to lower than the five-year average.

A report published by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) last week showed that the country's oil production averaged a record 11.9 million barrels a day in November, up 345,000 from October and up almost 1.8 million compared with November 2017's average figures.

Brent crude oil futures were last down 12 cents at $62.57 a barrel by 1022 GMT, while US crude futures were down 7 cents at $53.94 a barrel.

More news: Nissan Bosses 'Want Labour To Work With Theresa May For Brexit Deal'

Brent crude futures dropped 24 cents, or 0.38 percent, to settle at $62.51 a barrel.

Crude futures earlier posted around two-month highs.

Short-term, the market is getting a boost from USA sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports. The S&P Global Platts survey had shown expectations for supply increases of 1.7 million barrels each for gasoline and distillates.

“Looking ahead, the 2019 demand outlook for oil is not great, while the prospects of increased shale supply and competition elsewhere could keep the pressure on prices, ” he said.

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that OPEC officials said Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies were looking to create a formal partnership with a 10-nation group led by Russian Federation to manage the world's oil market.

Meanwhile, hopes for thawing China-US relations have also helped ease concerns over slowing economic growth.

In his State of the Union address, U.S. President Donald Trump said a trade deal was possible with China.

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