Markets

U.S. oil prices edge up as market eyes tighter supply

U.S. oil prices edge up as market eyes tighter supply”

US sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company could also lift prices, though they have yet to trigger any sharp increase.

Oil prices fell on Monday after disappointing US factory data sparked fresh concerns about a slowdown in the global economy, but losses were limited as OPEC-led supply cuts and USA sanctions against Venezuela pointed to tighter supply.

“The key supply story remains the ongoing OPEC production cuts, ” US bank Goldman Sachs said on Wednesday.

Brent crude oil futures were last down 50 cents, or 0.8, at $62.19 a barrel by 1310 GMT.

Technically, the crude oil price remains within the rising channel in place on the chart throughout this year so far and its climb could well extend towards the channel resistance line, now around $56.30.

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Still, some analysts were relieved that USA crude oil inventories only rose by 1.3 million barrels in the week to February 1, according to the EIA, compared with expectations for an increase of 2.2 million barrels.

Opec's sales to the world's biggest economy fell 22 per cent month-on-month and 37 per cent year on year, to 1.4m barrels per day, data from energy intelligence company Kpler shows.

Weighing on oil markets, US government data showed new orders for USA -made goods unexpectedly fell in November, with sharp declines in demand for machinery and electrical equipment.

A decline in OPEC production and a squeeze on supply from Iran and Venezuela from US sanctions have led many analysts to forecast that the market will be balanced in 2019.

A stronger US dollar limited gains on Wednesday.

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Crude prices tumbled more than 3% early in the day after Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak poured cold water over Saudi Arabia's hopes, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, to lure Moscow and the group of 10 non-OPEC oil producers it leads into a formal pact with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to better manage oil prices.

The oil price is showing a 20 percent gain so far this year. Output from OPEC's 14 current members fell by 930,000 barrels a day to 31.02 million, according to a Bloomberg survey.

"We believe that financial markets may be overestimating the risks of a global recession", said Jean-Pierre Durante, Head of Applied Research at Pictet Wealth Management.

US President Donald Trump last week said he would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, perhaps twice, in the coming weeks to try to seal a comprehensive trade deal with Beijing, but acknowledged it was not yet clear whether a deal could be reached.

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