Oil prices rise after OPEC cuts, USA sanctions on Iran, Venezuela

OPEC projects to tighter oil market in 2019

WTI: Downside opening up towards $ 63.50 amid rising US supplies

Warns demand fell in developed OECD countries by 0.3 million bpd.

In its monthly oil market report, OPEC estimates demand for its crude to average 30.30 million barrels per day in 2019, a fall of 1.05 million bpd on the year, signifying that oil inventories are going to decline sharply, pointing to a very tight market.

On the demand side, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries saw their consumption decline at the beginning of past year due to the weak economy in Europe, the IEA said.

In its April report the IEA maintained its forecast for oil demand growth in 2019 at 1.4 million barrels per day.

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"China and India comprise almost 55 per cent of global demand growth".

USA sanctions and power outages pushed OPEC member Venezuela's crude output to a long-term low of 870,000 bpd, IEA says.

Venezuela is an OPEC member but exempt from the cuts as it struggles with political turmoil, sanctions and repeated power blackouts.

OPEC, Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, are reducing output by 1.2 million bpd from January 1 for six months.

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The producer group's supply cuts have been aimed largely at offsetting record crude production out of the United States.

"Russia continues to adjust output gradually", the IEA said, adding that "if the producers deliver on their promises, the market could return to balance" in the second quarter of this year.

"This turnaround in supply has contributed to a dramatic increase in prices, with Brent crude rising from $50 a barrel at the end of December, to more than $70 a barrel today".

Prices also continue to be supported by the on-going OPEC-led supply cuts and the USA sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, which have helped tighten global supplies.

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Global benchmark Brent settled at $71.07 a barrel, up 18 cents or 0.3 per cent compared to previous figures, Addustor newspaper reported yesterday.

USA crude inventories rose seven million barrels to 456.6 million barrels in the last week, their highest since November 2017, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

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