Oil price hits highest so far this year

US crude oil moving average

Iran is exempt from oil-output cuts following US President Donald Trump's decision to re-impose sanctions on Tehran previous year. As of just after 10am BST, the price of brent crude was at $69.78 per barrel.

Refinery crude runs rose by 18,000 bpd and refinery utilization rates fell by 0.2 percentage point to 86.4 percent of total capacity, EIA data showed.

The threat of additional USA sanctions is hanging over Iranian supply, while the White House is set to decide by early May if waivers allowing some countries to keep buying oil from the Persian Gulf nation will be extended or not.

In the Gulf Coast, which is home to more than half of all US refinery capacity, refinery inputs averaged over 9.2 million barrels per day in 2018, or 8 percent higher than the previous five-year average for that region and the first time the annual average surpassed 9.0 million barrels per day.

Hedge funds and other money managers raised their net long U.S. crude futures and options positions to 243,209 in the week to March 26, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said.

Oil production from Russian Federation fell to 11.3 million bpd last month, but missed the country's target under the supply deal.

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(MENAFN - Baystreet.ca) The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported a build in crude oil inventory of 3.0 million barrels for the week ending March 29, coming in over analyst expectations of a 425,000-barrel draw. That was offset by Saudi Arabia's reduction to a four-year low of 9.82-million barrels a day.

Oil rose near $70 a barrel in London, a level last breached in November, as global crude supplies tightened while hopes for an end to the US-China trade impasse lifted financial markets.

Oil's pattern on the price charts could lead to further gains.

-China trade negotiations and positive Chinese and US factory activity data in recent days has also helped market sentiment by easing fears about weakening global oil demand.

After the data, oil prices were little changed on the day, with USA crude up 5 cents at $62.63 a barrel and Brent up 10 cents at $69.47 a barrel.

"Overall, with a more relaxed financing environment, government efforts to bail out the private sector and positive progress in Sino-U.S. trade talks, the situation across the manufacturing sector recovered in March".

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