Crude oil futures rise 0.07% on global cues

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

Oil hovers near 5-month highs as global markets tighten

The investment bank said in a recent note that it now expects benchmark Brent crude prices to average $66 per barrel in 2019, compared with its previous estimate of $62.50.

Oil markets have tightened this year because of USA sanctions on oil exporters Iran and Venezuela, as well as supply cuts by OPEC and some non-affiliated producers including Russian Federation, a group known as OPEC.

Worldwide benchmark Brent futures were at $70.66 per barrel at 0158 GMT, up 5 cents from their last close.

Crude oil futures for May ended up $63, or 0.98%, at $64.61 a barrel.

According to its recently published monthly report, OPEC's oil output in March decreased by 534,000 barrels per day to 30.022 million bpd.

For months, the United States had said that it was aiming to cut off Iran's oil exports, and the oil market started to fear in the summer of 2018 that a steep decline in Iranian oil barrels would tighten the global market too much.

The OPEC monthly report released on Wednesday showed that Venezuela's oil output sank last month to a long-term low below 1 million barrels per day, due to USA sanctions and blackouts.

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

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The Dutch bank said the reduction was not only down to voluntary supply cuts, which the group started this year to prop up prices, but also involuntary curbs from Venezuela and Iran - which are exempt from the OPEC cut pact - due to US sanctions.

The report said US crude stockpiles rose to their highest level since November 2017, amid rising imports.

Russia, not an OPEC-member but a reluctant participant in the supply cuts, signalled yesterday it wanted to raise output when it meets with OPEC in June because of falling stockpiles.

In the US crude production reached a global record 12.2 million bpd in late March.

"With the new Permian pipelines (from July), we can see a boost of 500,000 to 600,000 bpd in USA exports, " said energy consultancy, FGE in a note.

"Even though the crude oil inventory rise was almost equal in size, the focus of the complex, as we head into peak summer driving season, is gasoline".

On the demand side, there are concerns that an economic slowdown will soon hit fuel consumption. The forecast cut 0.2 percentage point from the IMF's outlook in January.

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