Oil Prices Increase as US Lowers Crude Production Estimates

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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 United States imposed sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

As of 1555 GMT, front monh West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for prompt month delivery were climbing by 1.73% to $57.87 a barrel on the ICE.

A previous report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) went on to predict that the USA would lead the world's growth in oil output.

This increase in price was mainly attributed to an announcement from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday, reporting that US crude supplies fell by around 3.9 million barrels last week. Other factors that have been influencing oil prices include the current blackout in Venezuala alongside the state of the ongoing trade talks between Washington and Beijing.

Oil prices have risen since the beginning of this year thanks to supply cuts led by OPEC.

Crude oil imports have decreased in recent years as USA crude oil production has increased. In its March Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA forecasts that the United States will become a net exporter of crude oil and petroleum products on a monthly basis later this year and on an annual basis in 2020.

For 2020, the government said it expected U.S. crude oil demand to rise by 220,000 bpd to 21.03 million bpd, unchanged from previous forecasts. "Gasoline inventories drew strongly, now down more than 12 million barrels-or 5%-in four weeks, while distillate inventories ticked higher as implied demand slipped last week". Brent touched $67.76 a barrel on Wednesday, its highest since November 16. After averaging a record high of 10.1 million bpd in 2005, crude oil imports fell by 2.8 million bpd to an average of 7.3 million bpd in 2014.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $58.44 a barrel at the same time, posting almost a 0.2 percent increase, after ending the previous session at $58.34 per barrel.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih suggested last month that he favored maintaining output curbs when asked to comment on U.S. President Donald Trump's tweet on February 25 demanding OPEC to "relax" its stance on tightening supplies.

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