OIL PRICE: NOT ABOVE $55
REUTERS , BLOOMBERG , OILPRICE - Oil prices rose on Wednesday after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said the global oil surplus was starting to shrink due to robust global demand and an output drop from OPEC and other producers.
By 1021 GMT, international benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 was up 27 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $54.54 a barrel.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) CLc1 was up 38 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $48.61 a barrel.
"Based on recent bets made by investors, expectations are that markets are tightening and that prices will rise, albeit very modestly," the IEA, which coordinates energy policies in industrialized nations, said in its monthly report.
"Demand growth continues to be stronger than expected, particularly in Europe and the U.S.," the IEA said, raising its 2017 global oil demand growth estimate to 1.6 million barrels per day from 1.5 million bpd.
The assessment echoed a report by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries forecasting higher demand for its oil in 2018 and pointing to signs of a tighter global market.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) also revised its 2017 and 2018 U.S. oil output forecast figures lower to reflect, in part, effects of Hurricane Harvey.
Commerzbank said in a note that the OPEC and EIA reports "came as a positive surprise and should really support prices."
"However, this also means that OPEC must not increase its production if the balance on the oil market is to be ensured. And yet this is hardly likely to happen," it said, saying OPEC states Libya and Nigeria had not agreed to production cuts.
Some worries about rising U.S. crude inventories persisted.
Industry group the American Petroleum Institute reported on Tuesday that U.S. crude inventories rose by 6.2 million barrels in the week to Sept. 8 to 468.8 million, nearly double analysts' expectations for an increase of 3.2 million barrels.
Analysts say U.S. stocks data may not give a full picture in coming weeks because of two major hurricanes - Harvey and Irma.
EIA inventory data is due out later on Wednesday.
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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.