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Oil prices rise on signs of big US inventory draw, OPEC demand outlook


Oil prices rise on signs of big US inventory draw, OPEC demand outlook By Investing.com

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AuthorAmbar WarrickCommodities

Published Mar 13, 2024 02:21AM ET

© Reuters.

Investing.com– Oil prices rose on Wednesday, supported by industry data showing a large, unexpected draw in U.S. inventories, while the OPEC maintained its forecast for strong demand growth in the coming years.

Brent oil futures expiring in May rose 0.8% to $82.56 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 0.8% to $77.88 a barrel by 02:05 ET (06:15 GMT). 

But despite their recent strength, crude prices remained stuck squarely within a $75 to $85 a barrel trading range, amid middling cues on supply and demand. Economic weakness in top importer China remained a major point of contention for oil markets. 

Strength in the dollar, following stronger-than-expected U.S. inflation data, also weighed on crude. But on the other hand, continued disruptions in the Middle East kept risks of potential supply shocks high, limiting any major weakness in crude. 

Talks for an Israel-Hamas ceasefire fell through, while Houthi forces continued to attack vessels in the Red Sea. 

Additionally, debilitating Ukrainian drone strikes on a major Russian refinery also raised concerns over tighter global fuel markets. The attack came just weeks after Russia suspended all fuel exports, to stabilize local fuel markets ahead of an upcoming Presidential election.

US inventories unexpectedly shrink- API

U.S. inventory data offered some positive near-term cues to oil markets. Data from the American Petroleum Institute showed that inventories shrank by 5.5 million barrels in the week to March 8, compared to expectations for a build of 0.4 million barrels.

The draw came as more local refiners resumed production after an extended winter break, signaling some near-term tightness in U.S. oil markets. But this tightness is expected to remain limited, especially with local fuel demand showing little signs of picking up from a winter lull.

The API data usually heralds a similar reading from official inventory data, which is due later on Wednesday. 

But optimism over smaller U.S. inventories was largely offset by the Energy Information Administration hiking its oil production outlook for 2024, by 260,000 barrels per day to 13.19 million barrels. 

OPEC keeps demand forecast, IEA report in focus 

On the demand front, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries maintained its forecast that world oil demand will increase by 2.25 million barrels per day in 2024, and by 1.85 million bpd in 2025. 

In a monthly report, the cartel cited an eventual reduction in interest rates and an improvement in global economic conditions this year as the driving forces behind increased oil demand.

The OPEC had recently said it will maintain its current pace of production cuts until end-June, which, coupled with potential supply disruptions in the Middle East, is expected to tighten oil markets towards the middle of the year.

Beyond the OPEC, a monthly report from the International Energy Administration is also due this week.

Oil prices rise on signs of big US inventory draw, OPEC demand outlook

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