OIL PRICE: NOT ABOVE $65
REUTERS - Oil prices were stable on Wednesday after posting two days of declines at the start of the week, with support largely coming from strong China data that implies higher future imports, while the relentless rise in U.S. crude output capped gains.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $60.77 a barrel at 0753 GMT, up 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their previous settlement.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $64.62 per barrel, down just 2 cents from their last close.
Wednesday's tepid support came from China, which reported January-February domestic oil production down by 1.9 percent on the year to 30.37 million tonnes, equivalent to 3.77 million bpd. At the same time, crude throughput rose 7.3 percent to 93.4 million tonnes, implying a need for more imports.
Despite this, Brent and WTI have shed around 1.5 and 2.4 percent respectively since the start of the week, with prices hit by concern over a relentless rise in U.S. crude oil production that has also been contributing to increasing inventories.
U.S. crude production has soared by almost a quarter since mid-2016 to 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd), overtaking output by top exporter Saudi Arabia.
U.S. production is expected to rise above 11 million bpd by late 2018, taking the top spot from Russia, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
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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.