Oil set for longest gain since 2012 as Saudis seen extending cut

Oil set for longest gain since 2012 as Saudis seen extending cut

Crude prices rose to five-week highs in Asia on Tuesday with industry data on USA inventories later in the day expected to underpin market views on demand and supply in the world's top importer.

In post-settlement trade both grades got a boost as industry group the American Petroleum Institute said US crude inventories has fallen by almost 1.3 million barrels a day, defying expectations that they would increase 87,000 barrels in the week.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were up 16 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $53.56 a barrel, also their highest level since early last month.

Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, fell 0.27% to $55.83 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange.

OPEC reduced its output to around 1.2 million barrels per day from the beginning of January and for six months - the first curb in eight years - to get rid of excess supply.

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The EIA revised its forecast for US oil production up by around 2 percent for 2018, and it increased its projection for the fourth quarter of 2017 up about 1 percent.

The IEA said oil stocks in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development industrialized countries fell by 17.2 million barrels in March, although inventories were still 300 million barrels above the five-year average.

Russia's oil production will reach a record high of 549 million tons in 2017 despite a planned output reduction, the country's Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Wednesday.

Analysts said there are worries demand growth could falter, and other indicators were warning that the market had not yet cleared enough of its surplus to keep prices rising.

In last month's OPEC report Saudi Arabia had posted numbers showing it raised output above 10m bpd in a move that briefly unnerved markets, before the kingdom issued a rare statement to explain the output increase was aimed at replenishing domestic inventories, rather than an attempt to increase exports.

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As tensions mount, the government is using its almost-complete control of Venezuela's institutions to pursue its opponents. Participants have been instructed to wear white for a silent march meant to honour the protests' victims.

Crude prices continued to trade with an upside bias, after last week's USA missile strike on an airbase in Syria, underpinned a rally in oil prices, as investors anxious about potential supply disruptions in the region.

Overall, WTI edged higher to trade just above $53.00 p/b at the United States open with Brent around $55.90.

In its latest monthly report, the IEA cut its estimate for 2017 demand growth and warned that the revised forecast could be too optimistic.

OPEC meets on May 25 and is considering whether to extend the supply cut deal beyond June.

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