Oil wavers as OPEC pushes supply cut need, demand fears weigh

EIA: The US imports and exports substantial volumes of petroleum

EIA: The US imports and exports substantial volumes of petroleum

The National Bank of Australia said the outlook for the oil market was mixed because there were downside risks to prices due to concerns about economic growth and strong growth in U.S. supply, while the cutbacks in OPEC declined and the United States imposed sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.

In 2018, U.S.net petroleum trade volume, which stands for imports minus exports, reached 2.3 million barrels per day, which was its lowest level since 1967, said EIA.

Over the week ending on 8 March, commercial oil stockpiles in the States fell by 3.9m barrels (consensus: +2.655m) versus the prior week to reach 449.1m barrels.

OPEC may extend production cuts as demand is expected to go down this year.

Brian Stutland, chief investment officer at Equity Armor Investments, said, "We're seeing some supplies tighten a little bit.and also the correlation between oil and the stock market and demand coming back into the picture has sort of driven it: oil lagged a little bit as the dollar strengthened, and I think it's trying to play catch-up".

In its monthly report released on Thursday, the group cut the forecast of demand for its crude this year and predicted strong growth in non-OPEC supply. Crude oil imports to the U.S. fell last week by 523,000 bpd to 6.4 million bpd.

Crude oil imports have decreased in recent years as USA crude oil production has increased.

Meanwhile, US sanctions have helped slash output from OPEC members Venezuela and Iran.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih suggested last month that he favored maintaining output curbs when asked to comment on U.S. President Donald Trump's tweet on February 25 demanding OPEC to "relax" its stance on tightening supplies. Propane exports have also increased, mostly to Asian markets.

Oil prices rose yesterday, driven by OPEC's current production restrictions and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.

Brent crude oil futures hit a 2019-peak of $68.14 per barrel on Thursday before easing modestly to $67.05 by 0840 GMT, up 50 cents or 0.74 percent from Wednesday's close. Brent touched $67.76 a barrel on Wednesday, its highest since November 16.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $58.54 per barrel, up $0.28 or 0.48%. OPEC's report said oil inventories in developed economies were above the five-year average in January.