Oil prices log lowest settlement in almost 3 weeks

US Crude Losses Offset by News It Will Be a Net Energy Exporter Four Years Sooner Than Expected

US crude stocks rose last week even though refineries hiked output, which also boosted gasoline and distillate inventories, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. The Brent variety, however, rose by 0.09% to 65.57 United States dollars per barrel. Analysts also point out that the broad-based fall in the stock markets might exacerbate the dip in crude oil prices if investors who hold oil contracts find themselves selling them to raise cash. "While oil prices are likely to be supported at this level after its correction, the upcoming U.S. data will be the deciding factor" for future prices.

Crude oil has also been under pressure from a stronger USA dollar, which is on track for its biggest weekly rise in more than a year.

To oil bears, the drop in crude oil, based on the United States production is a valid move. Higher oil prices also will put a dent in demand. Late previous year, OPEC and non-OPEC members, which together account for more than 40 percent of global crude-oil supplies, agreed to further extend output cuts until the end of 2018, with the option for an early exit from the deal if prices rose rapidly.

Crude oil futures were lower during mid-morning trade in Asia Thursday, with NYMEX hitting a one-month low after US Energy Information Administration data showed a second-straight weekly rise in crude inventory and record US domestic production which crossed 10 million b/d.

"Supply looks quite healthy and that's taking the edge off oil prices", said Nitesh Shah, a commodities analyst at ETF Securities in London.

Crude prices have given up almost all of this year's gains, falling roughly 6% since late last week.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.73 a barrel. On Tuesday, U.S. stocks rebounded to post the biggest rally in 15 months. Exports have increased from a little more than 100,000 barrels a day in 2013 to 1.53 million in November. By end of trade on Monday, Brent crude had come down to $67.62 per barrel from $69.65 on February 1.

“U.S. crude production should keep hitting new highs throughout 2018, ” US bank Citi said after the data's release.

The recent production number report has surpassed Saudi Arabia's production average of 9.92 million barrels per day back in December according to the OPEC's monthly oil market report data which was released last month. More so than other countries, Russian Federation and Brazil increased their market shares of Chinese imports between those years from 9% to 14% and from 2% to 5%, respectively.



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