Oil prices were mixed on Thursday after hitting 2019 highs as OPEC stressed the need to extend its production cut program past June while lowering its forecast for crude demand.
Oil prices have risen since the beginning of this year thanks to supply cuts led by OPEC. USA crude oil demand in 2019 is expected to rise by 360,000 barrels to 20.81 million barrels per day, a former Energy Information Administration (EIA) for an increase of 350,000 barrels per day. Crude oil imports to the USA fell last week by 523,000 bpd to 6.4 million bpd.
In a monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said 2019 demand for its crude would average 30.46 million barrels per day, 130,000 bpd less than forecast last month and below what it is now producing. The EIA now expects US oil production to average 12.3 million barrels per day this year and 13.0 million barrels per day next year.
The WTI Crude Oil market rallied significantly during the trading session on Wednesday, reaching towards fresh, new highs, at least as far as recent trading is concerned. It kept its forecast for growth in global oil demand this year unchanged at 1.24 million bpd.
OPEC April meeting will assess members' compliance with oil output cuts and whether to extend cuts till year end. After averaging a record high of 10.1 million bpd in 2005, crude oil imports fell by 2.8 million bpd to an average of 7.3 million bpd in 2014.
The price of oil has been steadily increasing over the past couple of months.
Iraq is committed to the deal and working to stabilise markets, and is producing slightly more than 4.5 million bpd, below its full capacity of almost 5 million, Ghadhban said.
Brent crude hit a 2019 peak of $68.14 per barrel before falling to $67.93 by 1250 GMT, up $0.38 or 0.56% from Wednesday's close. Brent touched $67.76 a barrel on Wednesday, its highest since November 16. US West Texas Intermediate rough futures were $ 57.89 per barrel, an increase of $ 1.02, or 1.79 percent, compared to the previous settlement price.
"Opec continues to cut output amid ongoing supply issues, while the situation in Venezuela remains bleak", ANZ Bank said in a research note.
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