Oil up, but Opec sees rapid growth in rival supply

Oil up, but Opec sees rapid growth in rival supply

Oil up, but Opec sees rapid growth in rival supply

"We are now only 2-4 weeks away from when weekly oil inventory data will start to draw again which should be supportive for oil prices". The Energy Department releases its U.S. inventories data later this morning.

According to OPEC, "the most recent trade-related developments may provide challenges to the growth momentum as global trade has been an important factor contributing to the world economy".

This offered modest support to the Brent price, which has fallen by about 1 percent so far this week on concerns that coordinated supply cuts by OPEC and its partners might not be enough to offset the relentless rise in USA crude production.

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Despite this, general market conditions remain weak, and crude prices have not managed to return to their early 2018 highs of over $70 per barrel for Brent and nearly $67 a barrel for WTI. Output has been helped by the 25% rise in oil prices over the past year, along with improvements in efficiency and technology.

West Texas Intermediate for April delivery was 32 cents lower at $60.39/bbl at 11:31 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"Saudi Arabia continues to lead by example by producing below the production targets it agreed to", the energy ministry said in the news release.

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As it had done in several consecutive monthly reports, OPEC lifted again on Wednesday its estimates for non-OPEC oil supply growth this year, but this time the cartel's estimates that for the first time, rival oil supply growth led by the US will outpace global oil demand growth in 2018.

China reported a 7.2 percent year-on-year increase in industrial output in the first two months of the year, roundly beating expectations and, in a dose of support for oil bulls, the data showed crude production fell 1.9 percent. Analysts had forecast a smaller decline of 1.519 million barrels. Iraq's oil output is now at 4.37 million barrels a day and production capacity is 4.7 million.

Tran told Bloomberg, "we do think over the course of the year oil prices will likely march to the beat of its own drum - so from that perspective we do believe the backdrop for the oil market is actually looking quite constructive". Crude oil inventories were lower than estimates (+2.4m vs. +3.0m expected).

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"Prices in the upper half of the oil price-band will encourage increased supply as U.S. production grows and countries reduce compliance with their production quotas", its senior vice-president Terry Marshall said.

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