Oil rises after Saudi output pledge, declining US inventories

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Traders are bracing for increasing supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for benchmark USA crude futures, as refinery outages could create a supply backlog that will add to inventories that are already at the highest in more than a year.

"In terms of crude-oil quantity, markets may be able to adjust after initial logistical dislocations", said the Paris-based IEA, which advises major economies on energy policy. West Texas Intermediate, the United States marker, was up 1.9 per cent at $53.38 a barrel.

Estimates for how much crude is needed from OPEC were lowered by 300,000 bpd from last month's assessment amid surging supplies from its rivals, driven by the US shale boom.

The U.S. bank expects benchmark Brent crude prices to touch $67.50 per barrel in the second quarter of 2019, up from $63.07 per barrel at 0638 GMT on Wednesday.

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In its monthly report, Opec said it produced 797,000 fewer barrels per day in January than in the previous month, a decrease in line with the cartel's pledge to curb output in a bid to boost sagging prices.

USA crude oil inventories rose last week to the highest since November 2017 as refiners cut runs to the lowest since October 2017, the Energy Information Administration said.

"Our primary objective is to ensure that the oil market remains in balance throughout 2019 and beyond in order to build on the success of the past couple of years", the OPEC Secretary General said.

"Even so, headline benchmark crude oil prices have hardly changed on news of the sanctions".

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On Tuesday, OPEC announced that it had succeeded in reducing production by 800,000 barrels per day in January, to 30.81 million barrels per day.

In the meantime, the political rift between Venezuela and the United States continues with the USA sanctions against the South American nation giving prices a slight boost.

With the actual loss of Venezuelan and some Middle Eastern crude, and the potential loss of Iranian barrels, the dilemma for Asian refiners becomes more acute.

In the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), oil demand was revised down by 0.02 mb/d due to lower economic projections for OECD Americas in 1Q19 and OECD Europe for the whole of 2019, reads the report.

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OPEC and its non-member allies headed by Russian Federation agreed late-2018 to decrease production by 1.2 mb/d during first half of 2019 to push oil prices high. The so-called OPEC+ alliance aims to prevent another price-crushing oil glut like the one that gripped the market between 2014 and 2016.

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