OPEC cuts forecast for global crude demand in 2019

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Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures reached four-months highs on Thursday, as a production curb agreement by OPEC and its partners along with USA sanctions on Iran and Venezuela tightened global supplies.

Brian Stutland, chief investment officer at Equity Armor Investments, said, "We're seeing some supplies tighten a little bit.and also the correlation between oil and the stock market and demand coming back into the picture has sort of driven it: oil lagged a little bit as the dollar strengthened, and I think it's trying to play catch-up".

Opec on Thursday cut the forecast of global demand for its oil this year as rivals boost production.

Markets have been further tightened by US sanctions against oil exports from OPEC members Iran and Venezuela.

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EIA expects these trends to continue over the next several years.

"This highlights the continued shared responsibility of all participating producing countries to avoid a relapse of the imbalance and continue to support oil market stability in 2019", OPEC said. Opec sources have said an extension of the pact is the likely scenario.

Overall Opec output fell by 221,000 bpd month-on-month to 30.55 million bpd.

Despite the new curbs, market indicators followed by Opec will prolong concerns about excess supply. That amounts to 105 per cent compliance with pledged cuts, according to a Reuters calculation, up from January's rate.

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Crude oil imports have decreased in recent years as USA crude oil production has increased.

For 2020, the government said it expected United States crude oil demand to rise by 220,000 bpd to 21.03 million bpd, unchanged from previous forecasts.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $67.61 a barrel at 0054 GMT, up 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last close. Brent touched $67.39 a barrel on Monday, its highest since February 25.

United States net trade of petroleum, which includes crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas plant liquids, has fallen in recent years, reaching 2.3 million bpd in 2018. On Sunday, Saudi oil minister Khalid Al-Falih said it would be too early to change OPEC+ output policy at the group's meeting in April.

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USA crude oil futures settled at $58.26 a barrel, rising $1.39 cents, or 2.44 percent. WTI hit a high of $58.48 a barrel on Wednesday, the highest since November 13.