Global oil prices dip as U.S. crude inventories rise


Prices have been buoyed by a new round of supply cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies that began in January.

US oil prices inched up on Tuesday, buoyed by expectations of tightening global supply due to USA sanctions on Venezuela and production cuts led by OPEC.

"While Venezuela's output reportedly rose last month, fresh U.S. sanctions on the country could see 0.5 to 1 percent of global supply curtailed", said Vivek Dhar, commodities analyst for Commonwealth Bank of Australia in a note on Monday.

USA oil prices pared losses and turned positive after the data release. "Moreover, lower oil prices - prices were between 14 percent and 18 percent lower in January than their 2018 average - are likely to stimulate economic activity and oil demand, particularly in emerging markets", said Jean-Pierre Durante, Head of Applied Research at Pictet Wealth Management.

As for what 2019 holds in store for his company, Dudley remarked, "As we look it, it feels like the markets will be firmer; I couldn't predict the oil price, but we are planning BP between $50 and $65".

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. crude oil inventories climbed by 1.3 million barrels in the week-ended February 1 to 447.21 million barrels.

Global benchmark April Brent LCOJ9, +0.90% added 71 cents, or 1.2%, to $62.69 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, after tapping a low of $61.05.

Tuesday's crude trading session saw the same fear that motivated the previous session - that of weak USA factory orders - cause prices to decline again, with West Texas Intermediate falling 90 cents, or 1.7 percent, at $53.66 per barrel, and Brent down 41 cents at $62.10 per barrel.

The producers known as OPEC+ began cutting production by 1.2 million barrels per day from last month to avert a new supply glut and OPEC has delivered nearly three-quarters of its pledged cutback already, according to a Reuters survey. OPEC supply fell last month by the largest amount in two years, a Reuters survey last week found. Output from OPEC's 14 current members fell by 930,000 barrels a day to 31.02 million, according to a Bloomberg survey.

"The fact that USA crude oil and gasoline stocks rose more sharply than expected, as reported by the API after the close of trading yesterday, is weighing on prices", said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank.

However, while OPEC is cutting output, the United States has expanded supply, with production most recently totaling 11.9 million bpd.

"Because the number was a little disappointing, it played into the slowing demand scenario", said Phil Flynn, oil analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week said he would meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in the coming weeks to try to settle the dispute.