Oil price surges amid OPEC cuts & USA sanctions against Venezuela

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Oil price surges amid OPEC cuts & USA sanctions against Venezuela

Supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russian Federation, have been supporting prices.

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.

"The weekly report from the EIA on USA oil stocks was bullish for outright prices, plain and simple. 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.

A report published by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) last week showed that the country's oil production averaged a record 11.9 million barrels a day in November, up 345,000 from October and up almost 1.8 million compared with November 2017's average figures.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $53.82 per barrel at 0607 GMT, down 19 cents, or 0.4 per cent, from their last settlement.

International Brent crude oil futures were down by 26 cents, or 0.4 per cent, at $62.43 per barrel.

About a dozen tankers carrying over 7 million barrels of Venezuelan crude and products were anchored this week at the U.S Gulf Coast waiting for directions on how to pay for the cargoes following the sanctions, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

But for those who prefer to scrutinize the trading community, then get set for more wild price swings: that was the message delivered by Robert McNally, president of Rapidan Energy Group, who said, "In this boom-bust era, as in prior ones, you can have a year or two of stability, but in general when you don't have an effective swing producer and you have big imbalances and geopolitical risk, there's volatility".

According to EIA, total motor gasoline inventories in the country increased by 500,000 barrels last week, about 5 percent above the five-year average for this time of year.

Crude shipments to the USA from OPEC and its partners fell to 1.41 MMbpd in January, the lowest in five years, according to data from cargo-tracking and intelligence company Kpler.

Short-term, the market is getting a boost from USA sanctions on Venezuelan oil exports.

While OPEC and allied producers are slashing their output in an attempt to boost crude prices, which saw a rapid fall past year, the United States has been opposing the measure and vowed to continue expanding its supply.

US President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union address that a trade deal was possible with China.

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