Weekly US crude oil inventories jump by 7.2m b/d, DoE says

Weekly US crude oil inventories jump by 7.2m b/d, DoE says

Weekly US crude oil inventories jump by 7.2m b/d, DoE says

"The $70-a-barrel price level is within striking distance", said Norbert Ruecker, head of macro and commodity research at Julius Baer Group Ltd.in Zurich.

Brent for June settlement increased 37 cents to US$69.38 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

USA crude oil hit a 2019 high on Monday and Brent gained a dollar after tight supply and positive signs for the global economy drove both benchmarks' largest first-quarter gains in almost a decade.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose 28 cents, or 0.5 per cent to $61.87 a barrel, earlier reaching $61.89, also a new high for 2019.

March's output is the lowest by OPEC since February 2015, excluding membership changes since then, Reuters surveys showed.

Oil prices rose for the fourth day in a row on Wednesday, with Brent nearing a five-month high of $70 a barrel, driven by OPEC-led supply cuts and United States sanctions imposed on Iranian and Venezuelan exports.

However, future gains will be limited by potential softness in the global economy as well as the ability of US oil producers to ramp up production when prices spike, said Phin Ziebell, senior economist at National Australia Bank in Sydney.

Oil prices have been supported for much of 2019 by the OPEC and non-affiliated allies like Russian Federation, who have pledged to withhold around 1.2 million barrels per day of supply this year.

Analysts have turned cautiously optimistic on the oil market, a monthly Reuters poll showed on Friday, lifting their forecast for the average Brent price in 2019 for the first time in five months to $67.12.

The identity of the three countries was not revealed by the source.

"On the demand side, easing economic slowdown fears are also offering support", she said.

US Vice President Mike Pence this week confirmed Washington would continue to target Venezuela, citing world oil prices as low enough to allow for the measures.

Crude oil futures snapped a three-day winning streak on Wednesday, after data showed an unexpected jump in US crude inventories.

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

Analysts estimated a smaller draw in gasoline inventories of 1.542 million barrels for the week.

A day later, the EIA reinforced the build, predicting that oil inventories had increased by 2.8 million barrels.

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