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14 March 2018, 08:47 | Erica Roy
Oil edges up on strong China data, but rising US output caps gains
Marshall said the restraint contributed to the decline in global crude inventories and helped to push higher oil prices. The Energy Department releases its U.S. inventories data later this morning.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that crude supplies rose by 5 million barrels for the week ended March 9.
The OPEC-led production cuts have been part of a recipe for higher oil prices including strong global economic growth and rising Middle East political tensions.
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 US crude production. Gasoline stocks fell by 6.3 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.2 million-barrel drop.
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.
While it was widely expected that OPEC's production in February would be well below the implied combined ceiling of about 32.73 million bpd, analysts and players were eager to see how low the oil production of crisis-stricken Venezuela dipped last month.
At 430.9 million barrels, US crude oil inventories are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.
Other shale producers such as Britain, Canada, Brazil and China are also expected to boost output, OPEC said in its monthly report.
However, Moody's believed that prices will remain range bound and possibly volatile, amid increases in U.S. shale production, reduced global supplies and potential noncompliance with agreed production cuts.
If sanctions are reinstated, Iran's oil exports could drop by 250 000 to 500 000 barrels a day by the end of this year, FGE said in a note.
Iraq is talking with the Kurds and Turkey about restarting crude shipments from fields in the Kirkuk area of northern Iraq, Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi told reporters in Basra.
Non-OPEC members are set to produce 59.53 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2018, the cartel said, revising its previous estimate upwards by 0.28 million bpd.
Support on Wednesday came from a report that US crude inventories are not rising as much as expected during the spring season that is starting, implying healthy demand.
"We are now only two to four weeks away from when weekly oil inventory data will start to draw again which should be supportive for oil prices", SEB commodities strategist Bjarne Schieldrop said.
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