Iraq Looks To Boost Crude Oil Trading Business

EIA: The US imports and exports substantial volumes of petroleum

Crude oil is navigating levels last seen in mid-November 2018 further north of the $58.00 mark per barrel, always bolstered by a softer buck and a generalized better tone in the risk-associated complex.

The OPEC Reference Basket (ORB), a weighted average of prices for petroleum blends produced by the cartel's members, rose in February for the second consecutive month, increasing by about 9 percent, or 5.09 USA dollars, month-on-month to average 63.83 US dollars per barrel, said the report.

US crude oil production is expected to grow slower than previously expected in 2019 and average about 12.30 million barrels per day (bpd) the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Tuesday.

The report said rising production outside the group pressed the need for continued supply restraint by OPEC+. Opec sources have said an extension of the pact is the likely scenario.

An unexpected dip in USA crude oil inventories and production also supported prices, traders said. The group and its allies are due to meet in April and June to discuss policy.

Despite the new curbs, market indicators followed by Opec will prolong concerns about excess supply.

In the report, OPEC said its oil output fell by 221,000 bpd month-on-month to 30.55 million bpd in February.

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Even so, with the demand for Opec crude forecast at 30.46 million bpd, the report indicates that the market would still face a small 2019 surplus if OPEC kept pumping at February›s rate, as rivals such as the United States boost output. It kept its forecast for growth in global oil demand this year unchanged at 1.24 million bpd.

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.

While it may be just as problematic as the notion of global oversupply that dominated analytical fears until recently, the perception of a tightening market continued to result in gains for crude prices, with US oil settling a substantial 2.4 percent higher on Wednesday.

USA crude oil futures settled at $58.26 a barrel, rising $1.39 cents, or 2.44 percent.

Sources said Novak would be there on Sunday, along with Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih.

At the moment the barrel of WTI is up 0.50% at $58.53 and a breakout of $59.63 (50% Fibo of the October-December drop) would open the door for $62.00 (200-day SMA) and then $63.74 (78.6% Fibo of the October-December drop).

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