Crude Oil Slips On Mixed Sentiment


USA sanctions on oil exporters Iran and Venezuela, as well as supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russian Federation, known as OPEC+, also boosted prices.

The sun sets behind an oil pump outside Saint-Fiacre, near Paris, France March 28, 2019.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $64.09 per barrel, up 9 cents from their last settlement.

United States crude inventories rose 7 million barrels to 456.6 million barrels in the last week, their highest since November 2017, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Last month, total OPEC-14 preliminary crude oil production averaged 30.02 million barrels per day (mb/d), a decrease of 534,000b/d over the previous month. The API reported a build in stockpiles in the week ending March 29 and any further increase could damage oil prices' climb higher.

Oil prices moved little on Wednesday, supported by supply cuts by producer group OPEC and USA sanctions against oil exporters Iran and Venezuela, but pressured by expectations that an economic slowdown could soon dent fuel consumption.

The agency, which coordinates the energy policies of industrialized nations, saw oil stocks in industrialized countries fall in February by 21.7 million barrels, remaining 16 million barrels above their five-year average.

UAE's Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui also said that compliance with the cuts by both Russian Federation and OPEC's second largest producer Iraq has increased in March, adding that he expected the oil market to achieve balance by the end of 2019.

Beyond the short-term outlook for oil markets, a lot of attention is on the future of demand amid the rise of alternative fuels for transport.

Crude prices could decline further if oil output in the USA, the world's largest producer, continues to remain at an all-time high and economic slowdown hurts overall oil demand worldwide. The group pegged 2018 global oil demand growth at 1.41 million b/d.OPEC also revised down non-OPEC oil supply growth in 2019 by 60,000 b/d "due to extended maintenance in Kazakhstan, Brazil, and Canada".

"Even though the crude oil inventory rise was almost equal in size, the focus of the complex, as we head into peak summer driving season, is gasoline", said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in NY.

Venezuela's production figure brings its numbers closer to outside estimates, which have been saying the country's economic collapse has taken a bigger toll on its oil industry.