Oil Hits 2019 High Amid Supply Cuts

Oil Hits 2019 High Amid Supply Cuts

Oil Hits 2019 High Amid Supply Cuts

International Brent crude oil futures were at $66.93 a barrel at 0039 GMT, up 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $58.62 per barrel, up 36 cents, or 0.62 percent, from their last settlement.

Oil futures rallied about 2 percent on Wednesday as US crude inventories unexpectedly fell and an official forecast of crude oil supply growth from the world's top producer was revised lower.

The Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that USA crude inventories fell by 3.9 million barrels in the week to March 8. In the week ending March 8 to 449 million barrels, raw stocks fell by 2.6 million barrels, compared to analysts' forecasts for an increase of 2.7 million barrels.

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Iraq also aims to sell more of its oil on the prized Asian markets, and in November it allocated 67 percent of its 2019 oil sales to Asia.

"Opec continues to cut output amid ongoing supply issues, while the situation in Venezuela remains bleak", ANZ Bank said in a research note. "It looks very supportive as refiners come out of maintenance".

United States crude oil inventories shrank unexpectedly again last week, alongside another drawdown in product inventories.

In 2018, U.S.net petroleum trade volume, which stands for imports minus exports, reached 2.3 million barrels per day, which was its lowest level since 1967, said EIA.

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BNP Paribas strategist Harry Tchilinguirian told the Reuters Global Oil Forum: "Buyers with (Iran oil) waivers are likely going to hold back until there is more clarity in the United States administration's position".

Venezuela's worst blackout on record has left most of the country without power for six days, with hospitals struggling to keep equipment running, food rotting in the tropical heat and exports from the country's main oil terminal stranded.

Market shortages have been exacerbated by U.S. sanctions on oil exports by OPEC members Iran and Venezuela. On Sunday, Saudi oil minister Khalid Al-Falih said it would be too early to change OPEC+ output policy at the group's meeting in April.

The National Bank of Australia said the outlook for the oil market was mixed because there were downside risks to prices due to concerns about economic growth and strong growth in USA supply, while the cutbacks in OPEC declined and the U.S. imposed sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

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