OIL PRICES RISE
Crude oil prices bounced back on Wednesday from steep falls in the previous session as strong Japanese economic growth surprised markets and the business outlook in Australia also seemed to brighten, stoking producer hopes of increased demand.
Japan's economy, the world's third largest, expanded at an annualised rate of 2.4 percent in the first three months of this year, more than a median market forecast for a 1.5 percent increase and following a revised 1.1 percent expansion in October-December, data from the Cabinet Office showed.
In Australia, an important commodity employer and exporter, consumer sentiment surged in May as people's outlook on the economy brightened following this month's interest rate cut and after the government unveiled a budget that included a surprise tax break for small businesses.
Brent futures were up 57 cents at $64.59 a barrel by 0215 GMT, and U.S. crude prices were also up 57 cents at $58.56 a barrel.
The price rises came after a session on Tuesday that saw oil slide over 3 percent on a dollar rally and concerns of a building glut, which Goldman Sachs said would lead to a return of 2015 lows.
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AN - China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) is willing to invest $3 billion in its existing oil and gas operation in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Sunday following a meeting with the Chinese in Abuja.
REUTERS - Production at Libya’s giant Sharara oil field was expected to fall by at least 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Saturday after two staff were abducted in an attack by an unknown group, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said.
IMF - Output grew by 3.8 percent in 2017, underpinned by a resilient non-hydrocarbon sector, with robust implementation of GCC-funded projects as well as strong activity in the financial, hospitality, and education sectors. The banking system remains stable with large capital buffers. Growth is projected to decelerate over the medium term.
IMF - Higher oil prices and short-term portfolio inflows have provided relief from external and fiscal pressures but the recovery remains challenging. Inflation declined to its lowest level in more than two years. Real GDP expanded by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of last year. However, activity in the non-oil non-agricultural sector remains weak as lower purchasing power weighs on consumer demand and as credit risk continues to limit bank lending.