Oil rises on tightening supplies; ample USA output caps gains

Daniel Fowler
April 19, 2019

Brent closed up 1 percent on Friday when prices hit a high of $71.87 a barrel, the highest since November 12.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down $0.04 at $71.14 a barrel at 1104 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.62 per barrel, down 14 cents or 0.2 per cent.

"Crude oil futures edged up as market sentiments were buoyed by a surprise drawdown in US crude oil inventories and tighter market fundamentals in the current term", said Benjamin Lu, commodities analyst at Singapore-based brokerage Phillip Futures.

China's economy grew by 6.4 percent in the first quarter, official data showed, defying expectations for a further slowdown and assuaging global markets as a US-China trade deal also appears near.

Refinery throughput in China, which trails only the U.S.as a crude user, rose 3.2% in March from a year earlier.

Official data on United States inventories from the Energy Information Administration is due on Wednesday.

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An unexpected fall in USA crude inventories also boosted oil prices.

US crude inventories fell by 1.4 million barrels in the week to April 12, compared with analyst expectations for an increase of 1.7 million barrels, Department of Energy (DoE) showed on Wednesday.

Prices extended gains in post-settlement trade after data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed that USA crude inventories fell unexpectedly last week, dropping by 3.1 million barrels, versus analysts' expectations of a 1.7 million-barrel build.

Iran's crude exports have fallen in April to their lowest daily level this year, tanker data showed and industry sources said, suggesting a reduction in buyer interest ahead of expected further pressure from Washington.

Russia's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov was quoted by the TASS news agency as saying on Saturday that Russian Federation and OPEC may decide to boost production to fight for market share with the United States but this would push oil prices as low as $40 per barrel.

An oil well pump jack is seen at an oil field supply yard near Denver, Colorado, U.S., February 2, 2015.

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