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Oil steady as easing US-China tension, US stock draw support
06 April 2018, 03:31 | Lionel James
Crude oil prices higher as drilling falls and Iran-related tensions escalate
At 9:26 a.m. EDT on Wednesday and before the EIA's weekly inventory report, WTI Crude was down 2.14% to $62.15 and Brent Crude was down 1.97% at $66.78.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were fetching $69.71 per barrel, up 37 cents, or 0.55 percent.
Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore, said oil markets remained nervous about "whether or not the US administration will scrap or maintain the fragile nuclear deal with Iran".
USA crude inventories fell by 4.6 million barrels last week, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 246,000 barrels, EIA data showed on Wednesday.
Oil prices headed higher on Thursday after reports out of the United States showed a drawdown in USA crude stockpiles that analysts did not expect. Last week, reserves fell by 4.6 million barrels, while analysts expected a 246,000-barrel growth. Refinery utilization rates rose by 0.7 percentage points.
US production hit a new high last week.
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Oil prices have moved in tandem with the US stock market throughout the year, though that relationship has broken down somewhat in the last few weeks.
Oil prices have recently closely tracked equities.
Oil prices have generally been supported by supply restraint led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russian Federation, which started in 2017 in order to rein in oversupply and prop up prices.
The gasoline stocks fell by 1.1 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations for a 1.3 million barrels drop.
Consultancy JBC Energy estimates OPEC crude production rose 65,000 barrels a day in March to just under 32 million barrels a day, below its self-imposed ceiling of 32.5 million barrels a day.
OPEC and its allies are collectively curbing 1.8 million barrels per day of crude output to help eliminate a global oil glut. OPEC oil output fell in March to an 11-month low due to declining Angolan exports, Libyan outages and a further slide in Venezuelan output, a Reuters survey found, sending compliance with a supply-cutting deal to another record.
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