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Saudi signals first cut in crude supplies to Asian customer-refinery source

20 Mai 2017

The US Energy Information Administration stated that crude production is expected to rise by 9.31 million barrels per day in the US, a 440,000bpd increase from the previous expectation. The decline in US crude oil inventories is likely due to the increase in gross inputs to refineries in April.

Global benchmark Brent crude was up 40 cents at $49.13 a barrel by 9:00am GMT.

Meanwhile, gasoline inventories dropped by only 0.150 million against expectations for a draw of 0.538 million barrels while distillate stockpiles fell by 1.6 million barrels, compared to expectations of a 1 million decline.

But questions remain about the effectiveness of OPEC-led cuts, with OPEC member Libya saying production now exceeded 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) for the first time since 2014 and could rise to 1.2 million bpd later this year.

OPEC is set to give further talks on May 25, concerning of whether to extend the settlement to cut production output for an additional six-months before the year ends.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has notified at least one Asian refiner of its first cut in crude allocations since an Opec output cut took effect in January, a source told Reuters on Wednesday (May 10). Saudi Aramco will reduce supplies to Asian customers by about 7 million barrels in June.

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The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russian Federation have agreed to cut output by nearly 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of the year to try to reduce a global fuel glut.

Oil prices remained under pressure during Tuesday's USA session with a slide in WTI to lows near $45.60 before a recovery towards the $46.00 p/b area.

Crude prices had hovered near five-months lows earlier this week, but surged yesterday after the Energy Information Administration released data showing a 5.2 million barrel drop in US crude stockpiles for the week ended May 5, far exceeding market expectations.

Rising pump prices have followed on higher prices for crude oil. For 2018, oil demand is expected to increase by 300,000 bbl/d, down from forecast demand growth of 340,000 bbl/d previously.

In the report, OPEC pointed to continued high compliance by its members with the supply deal and said oil stocks in industrialized nations fell in March - although they are still 276 million barrels above the five-year average.