Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

Oil prices in stand-still mode on competing trends

Oil prices in stand-still mode on competing trends

However, increasing shale production in the United States and global stocks threatened to pull prices down.

He said the UAE was satisfied by the high level of compliance with the current agreement by OPEC and non-OPEC countries to cut back oil production, and that this compliance would have a direct bearing on the general positive movement of non-OPEC partners in the agreement. Gasoline stocks fell by 1.5 million barrels, following a 3 million barrel decline the previous week.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 traded at $54.92 per barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 also remained nearly unchanged from the last close at $52.43 a barrel, reported Reuters.

US crude stocks fell 1 million barrels on the week, according to the US Energy Information Administration, a bit less than anticipated.

Refinery crude runs rose by 241,000 barrels per day, EIA data showed, with a sharp increase in Gulf Coast refining activity.

Oil prices gained on Wednesday as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said they were committed to eroding a global surplus of crude. The global benchmark crude traded at a $1.97 premium to June WTI. USA production rose to 9.252 million barrels a day in the most recent week, the highest since August 2015.

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Since sanctions were removed in January 2016, Iran's oil production has climbed 35%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. "The U.S. has increased production by about 600,000 barrels a day since the OPEC agreement, mitigating their cuts".

In parallel, imports declined by 68,000 barrels a day last week to 7.8m barrels, while domestic oil output rose slightly.

"We should see an accelerating level of crude draws, something we've been waiting for a while", Cavan Yie, senior equity analyst at Manulife Asset Management Toronto, said by telephone.

Despite strong gains in crude oil prices since last month, triggered in part by geopolitical tensions, the International Monetary Fund said it expected the price of oil to average $55 per barrel in 2017-18.

Gasoline futures for May delivery dropped 3 percent to $1.659 a gallon, the lowest close since March 28.

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