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Oil Holds Loss as IEA Says Stockpiles Climbed Despite OPEC Cuts

Brent crude traded at around $55.83 a barrel on Thursday shortly after the European open, down 0.04 percent, while USA crude was around $53.05 a barrel, down 0.11 percent. In its short-term outlook report released Monday, the EIA said it expects to see record US oil production in 2018.

The report also predicted a rebound in oil supply from producers outside of the Opec group.

Brent and WTI have rallied in recent sessions after Saudi Arabia was reported to be pushing fellow members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some rivals to prolong supply cuts beyond June.

At the same time, the USA oil rig count rose to its highest level in two years, threatening the rebalancing of markets.

The oil market is poised for a recovery in the second half of the year following supply cuts from the world's largest oil producers, even as demand for black gold continues to wane.

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Then in December, non-OPEC producers led by Russian Federation agreed to cut their own output to 558,000 barrels per day.

"The IEA said that global inventories are on the cusp of declining".

In its closely watched monthly oil market report, the IEA reduced its forecast for 2017 demand growth to 1.3 million barrels a day, warning that this outlook could still "prove optimistic".

"Even at this mid-way point, we can consider what comes next" to the output deal, the IEA says.

"This would provide further support to prices, which in turn would offer further encouragement to the USA shale oil sector and other producers", the IEA added.

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The EIA's report also showed that US crude production last week increased by 36,000 barrels per day to a total of 9.235 million barrels a day.

Overall, OECD crude stocks fell by 8.1 million barrels in February to 3.055 billion barrels, still 330 million barrels above the five-year average, the IEA said. Meanwhile, it said, OPEC's oil production fell by 365,000 barrels a day in March as Nigeria and Libya suffered outages.

The net result is that global stocks might have marginally increased in 1Q17 versus an implied draw of about 0.2 mb/d.

The combination of factors could keep a lid on oil prices, which have risen in the past six months after a three-year slump.

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