Oil prices steady following pullback driven by inventory data

U.S. Crude Slips On Inventory Build Gasoline Rallies

Supply-side strains last year pushed the price of oil below $30 per barrel and movement above $50 per barrel this year is supported by an effort by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to drain the five-year surplus on global crude oil inventories with managed production declines. Both benchmarks were down by less than 1 per cent earlier Thursday.

Brent for December settlement rose 11 cents to end the session at $58.44 on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

OPEC is expected to discuss extending that agreement at a meeting in Vienna on November 30.

USA benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude rose 2.5 percent to $53.98 after closing Thursday at $52.64. "Saudi Arabia's bullish stance, together with ongoing geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, will remain supportive of prices", said Abhishek Kumar, senior energy analyst at Interfax Energy's Global Gas Analytics in London.

"However, rising oil production in the U.S. and persistently high exports from the country will be the key bearish factors".

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OPEC and some major producers outside the cartel, including Russian Federation, first agreed late a year ago to cap their production at around 1.8 million barrels a day lower than peak October 2016 levels, with the aim of alleviating global oversupply and boosting prices.

Analysts say WTI cracked through technical resistance levels around $53 a barrel, helping it to break out higher. That sent WTI's discount to global marker Brent to the widest in a month. Ritterbusch said he expects December Brent to make a run at US$59 by the end of the week.

Preliminary data and early reads on supply and demand indicated a slight drain in USA crude oil inventories.

Iraq last month become the second-largest crude oil exporter to the United States, overtaking its southern neighbor, Saudi Arabia, and is on track to repeat this performance this month as well, customs data compiled by Bloomberg and figures from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) suggest.

While other producers cut output, USA production rebounded to 9.5 million bpd in the latest week. "The oil fields near Kirkuk-the Bai Hassan and Avana fields-are still reportedly not exporting crude, but that could soon change", reports OilPrice.com.

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