Oil falls as U.S. maintains record output, inventories climb

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Another factor behind the oil market rally is the supply cuts imposed by the member-states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied oil producers.

US crude stocks rose less than expected last week, while gasoline stocks increased and distillate inventories fell, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. The government's official supply report is due later on Wednesday.

"The weekly report from the EIA on USA oil stocks was bullish for outright prices, plain and simple", said Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd.in London.

"The ban. dramatically ramps up the sanctions to a global level and could potentially result in a loss of most Venezuelan output", French bank Societe Generale said in a note published on Wednesday.

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.

US crude oil inventories climbed by 1.3 million barrels in the week that ended February 1, to 447.21 million barrels, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Wednesday.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $62.72 a barrel, also up 21 cents or 0.4 percent, after closing down 0.4 percent in the previous session.

USA benchmark March West Texas Intermediate crude oil US:CLG9 rose 35 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at $54.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The global benchmark crude was at an $8.36 premium to WTI for the same month. WTI settled 2.73 percent higher in the last session at its highest close since November 19.

OPEC oil supply fell in January by the largest amount in two years despite sluggish production declines from Russian Federation, according to a Reuters survey.

"The fact that US crude oil and gasoline stocks rose more sharply than expected, as reported by the API after the close of trading yesterday, is weighing on prices", said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank.

Also dampening market sentiment still were worries about weaker global economic growth and the US-China trade dispute. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead a delegation to Beijing next week to lay the groundwork for a meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping later this month.

Citgo, the eighth-largest US refiner and Venezuela's top foreign asset, is in the middle of a tug of war as the Trump administration has made aggressive moves to remove it from Maduro's control.

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