China's CNPC crude production fell 1.6 pct y/y in Jan-Feb

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Pic ReutersLONDON

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that crude supplies rose by 5 million barrels for the week ended March 9.

Moody's Investors Service has raised its medium-term price band for crude oil to $45 (RM175)-$65 (RM253) per barrel (bbl) from $40 (RM155) - $60 (RM233)/bbl.

Crude futures were up by five cents to $60.78 a barrel as of 10:50 a.m. EDT, while Brent rose 9 cents to $64.75 a barrel. The API data also showed gasoline stocks fell by 1.3 million barrels, while distillates fell by 4.3 million barrels.

Oil prices stabilised early on Wednesday after posting two days of falls at the start of the week.

Oil prices fell on Wednesday, pressured as weekly USA government data show a bigger-than-expected rise in crude supplies, but gasoline futures climbed on the back of a hefty inventory decline.

Despite these various factors helping to boost commodity prices, Moody's believes prices will remain range-bound, and possibly volatile, amid increases in United States shale production; reduced, but still significant, global supplies; and potential noncompliance with agreed production cuts - especially if growth in demand is more tepid.

Moody's said oil prices have firmed since OPEC's November 2016 agreement to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), while non-OPEC members, led by Russian Federation, agreed to cut production by 558,000 bpd. Gasoline futures surged 1% as stockpiles sank the most since September.

China beat forecasts with a 7.2 percent year-on-year rise in industrial output in the first two months of 2018, while data showed Chinese crude output fell 1.9 percent.

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US oil production is expected to top 11 million bpd later this year.

"We are expecting domestic production to go down gradually".

Restraint shown by USA producers supports Goldman Sachs Group's bullish oil view, the bank said in a report.

Looking at USA crude oil stocks, the most recent EIA figures (March 7) showed rising crude oil stocks and falling gasoline inventories.

If sanctions are reinstated, Iran's oil exports could drop by 250 000 to 500 000 barrels a day by the end of this year, FGE said in a note.

There is a split between Saudi Arabia and Iran on the ideal oil price.

"This U.S. shale engine is not expected to run out of steam soon", said Stephen Brennock, analyst at brokerage PVM.

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