Brent Crude Hits New High On Soaring Demand

Brent Crude Hits New High On Soaring Demand

Brent Crude Hits New High On Soaring Demand

Brent crude futures were at $78.23 per barrel at 0445 GMT, down 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close, Reuters said. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.5% at $71.33 a barrel.

The difference between the two benchmarks briefly widened to more than $8 a barrel, the widest gap since April 2015, reflecting surging US crude supplies and a greater geopolitical risk to Brent-based crudes.

Growth in USA output, meanwhile, has tamed price moves for US benchmark crude in recent sessions, preventing it from notching a fresh multiyear high.

World oil prices have surged by more than 70 percent over the previous year as demand has risen sharply but production has been restricted by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, and other producers including Russian Federation.

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The recent decision by US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement has raised fears that renewed sanctions by Washington could severely hit production from the Middle East state, which now produces 3.8 million bpd and exported 2.6 million bpd last month - making it Opec's third-largest supplier.

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The tightening market has all but eliminated a global supply overhang which depressed crude prices between late 2014 and early 2017.

In its monthly oil market report the IEA lowered its estimate for growth in world oil demand this year to 1.4 million b/d, from 1.5 million b/d due to higher oil prices.

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On the other hand, USA production is growing at a pace that made traders hesitate last week after Baker Hughes reported yet another increase in drilling rigs.

"A rising oil price brings upside price risk to all commodities", Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients this week.

Iran's oil buyers continue to buy its crude, assessing the implications of the sanctions during the 180-day wind-down period.

The agency estimates that global oil inventories fell an average of almost 0.6 million barrels per day (bpd) in each of the past five quarters (January 2017 through March 2018).

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The IEA also said OECD oil stocks had fallen below the five-year average level for the first time in March, by 1 million barrels, representing a benchmark for the success of OPEC/non-OPEC production cuts.

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