Oil prices edge lower, tightening supply outlook supports

Mae Love
February 7, 2019

Brent crude futures gained 71 cents, or 1.15 percent, to settle at $62.69.

Oil prices fell on Monday after disappointing USA factory data sparked fresh concerns about a slowdown in the global economy, but losses were limited as OPEC-led supply cuts and US sanctions against Venezuela pointed to tighter supply. The benchmark earlier fell to a session low of $61.05. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 55 cents at $53.11.

USA crude inventories rose by 2.5 million barrels last week, according to industry group the American Petroleum Institute, and gasoline stocks also increased.

Crude inventories rose by 2.5 million barrels in the week ended February 1 to 448.2 million, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 2.2 million barrels.

Gasoline stocks increased by 513,000 barrels, less than anticipated, while distillate stockpiles fell a greater-than-expected 2.3 million barrels. "All in all this report is bullish for crude oil and refined product prices".

It nearly goes without saying that accompanying the sentiment will be crude analysts playing it safe by making wide-ranging predictions about market movement, for example, Ted Seifried, chief market strategist at Zaner AG Hedge, told Bloomberg television on Tuesday that "I'm wondering if crude oil backs up, has a bit of a correction - maybe we get down to, say, the $48-$40 level or so in WTI - and then we see a bounce from there.and eventually get into the mid $60s".

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"We expect the oil price to rise in the first-half of 2019 on tightening supply conditions and decline in the second-half on weakening economic activity and an increase in USA crude exports to global markets", said French bank BNP Paribas.

"Fresh U.S. sanctions on the country could see 0.5-1 percent of global supply curtailed", said Vivek Dhar, mining and energy analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

A stronger USA dollar limited gains on Wednesday.

Concern about weaker global economic growth and the trade dispute between the United States and China have also weighed on sentiment. -China trade dispute. Oil prices fell on Tuesday after a survey showed euro zone business expansion almost stalled in January.

The fund would receive income accrued by state-run oil firm PDVSA's U.S. unit Citgo Petroleum Corp since last month, when U.S. President Donald Trump recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's legitimate head of state, Carlos Paparoni said in an interview.

Senior U.S. and Chinese officials are poised to start another round of trade talks next week.

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