USA crude oil inventories increase last week: API

Trade dispute between the United States and China weighed on the sentiment

Trade dispute between the United States and China weighed on the sentiment

Longer-term investors believe the OPEC-led production cuts could eventually trim the global supply glut while stabilizing prices.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery erased 0.90 US dollar to settle at 53.66 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Front-month contract prices marked their lowest settlement Tuesday since January 29, according to FactSet data. They touched their highest level in more than two months at $55.75 the previous day.

He said the API figures showing rising stocks "do little to silence the USA glut alarm bells".

Venezuela exports around 1 million barrels of oil per day, about 1 percent of global production, of which half heads to the United States.

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US crude oil inventories climbed by 1.3 million barrels in the week that ended February 1, to 447.21 million barrels, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Wednesday.

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

USA oil imports from Opec countries have dropped to five-year lows as the oil producing cartel cuts output, while U.S. domestic production grows. The government's official supply report is due later on Wednesday.

“The 2019 demand outlook for oil is not great, while the prospects of increased shale supply and competition elsewhere could drive prices further lower, ” he said.

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Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, summarized the situation by remarking, "I think the oil market is trying to decide whether the factory orders will weigh on the price or the Venezuela and oil sanctions will support the price; as a result, we've seen the market fluctuating". The political turmoil raises the risk of disruption to Venezuela's oil output.

Meanwhile, imports are set to drop further as the USA slapped sanctions on Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

At the same time, several European Union countries on Monday recognized Guaidó as Venezuela's interim leader.

Analysts said that US sanctions on Venezuela had focused market attention on tighter global supplies. Venezuela is an OPEC member and now holds the oil cartel's rotational presidency.

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Oil companies still scrambling to find alternative supplies of heavy crude - and raising the specter of production cuts - have privately argued the administration has not found the right balance nor approved options that would help relieve pressure on refineries. March natural gas NGH19, +1.05% rose less than 0.1% to $2.662 per million British thermal units, following losses in each of the last four sessions .

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