Oil ticks higher, market eyes US State of the Union address

Oil Holds Gains on Signs of Shale Slowdown as OPEC Output FallsMore

Oil Holds Gains on Signs of Shale Slowdown as OPEC Output FallsMore

Pressuring prices are renewed concerns over rising US crude inventories and record production levels.

Oil prices rose about 1 percent on Wednesday, boosted by signs of strong U.S. demand for distillate products and tightening global crude supply, but gains were capped by a rising USA dollar and ongoing concerns about a global economic slowdown, Trend reports citing Reuters.

"Fresh U.S. sanctions on the country could see 0.5-1 percent of global supply curtailed", said Vivek Dhar, mining and energy analyst, Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

"The ban. dramatically ramps up the sanctions to a global level and could potentially result in a loss of most Venezuelan output", French bank Societe Generale said in a note published on Wednesday.

Oil prices trade higher year to date, with WTI front-month contract prices up about 19%.

United States 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.

International Brent crude oil futures fell 25 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $62.44 per barrel.

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US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 43 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $54.09 a barrel after posting a session low of $52.86 a barrel.

Analysts said that US sanctions on Venezuela had focused market attention on tighter global supplies.

According to EIA, total motor gasoline inventories in the country increased by 500,000 barrels last week, about 5 percent above the five-year average for this time of year.

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that OPEC officials said Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies were looking to create a formal partnership with a 10-nation group led by Russian Federation to manage the world's oil market.

“Looking ahead, the 2019 demand outlook for oil is not great, while the prospects of increased shale supply and competition elsewhere could keep the pressure on prices, ” he said.

Global economic worries have weighed on market sentiment in recent days, offsetting support from signs that global supplies are tightening. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead a delegation to Beijing next week to lay the groundwork for a meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping later this month. Both lines carry Canadian crude to the U.S.

The producers known as OPEC+ began cutting production from last month to avert a new supply glut and OPEC has delivered nearly three-quarters of its pledged cutback already, according to a Reuters survey.

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