Oil prices slip on economic worries, surging USA crude supply

Oil climbs to 5-month high amid OPEC cuts, US sanctions, Libya fighting

"OPEC's ongoing supply cuts and United States sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have been the major driver of prices throughout this year, " said Hussein Sayed, Chief Market Strategist at futures brokerage FXTM.

USA crude inventories surged by 7 million barrels to a 17-month high of 456.6 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $64.36 per barrel, down 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their previous settlement.

Despite this growth in U.S. supply, global oil markets remain tight amid supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), U.S. sanctions on oil exporters Iran and Venezuela, and escalating fighting in Libya.

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Saudi Arabia has slashed its oil production by more than promised as part of a pact to boost oil prices, the International Energy Agency said Thursday, while warning of mixed signals for global demand.

As a result, Brent and WTI crude oil futures have risen by around 30 percent and 40 percent respectively since the start of the year.

Global oil demand is estimated to average 99.91 million bpd this year, compared with 98.70 million bpd in 2018, OPEC said.

Distillate fuel oil inventories meanwhile dipped by 0.1m barrels and were 6% below their five-year average, although those of propane/propylene did grow by 1.2m barrels.

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"Declines from these two exempt countries account for nearly 47% of the reduction seen from OPEC", ING added.

The average daily oil production reached 793,000 barrels in January, 806,000 barrels in February and 792,600 barrels in 2018, the Ministry of Energy said.

In Iran, hit by USA sanctions, output was slight down, falling 28,000 b/d to 2.70 million b/d in March.Fellow exempt member Libya pumped 1.098 million b/d in March, up 196,000 b/d from the previous month, but output remains at risk as the country is on the brink of a possible civil war.

Crude oil futures settled notably higher on Wednesday as data showing a sharp decline in gasoline stocks in the US offset a surge in crude stockpiles in the week ended April 5.

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"Concerns about trade talks linger, and the mood will be influenced by the recent downgrade to global GDP growth by the International Monetary Fund, although it should be noted that the IMF does not expect a recession in the near term".

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