Published: Thu, April 04, 2019
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

United States crude oil refinery inputs increase last week

United States crude oil refinery inputs increase last week

Iran is exempt from oil-output cuts following US President Donald Trump's decision to re-impose sanctions on Tehran past year.

Brent for June settlement increased 37 cents to US$69.38 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.

Brent crude rose 26 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $69.27 a barrel by 0025 GMT, having earlier touched $69.29, a new high for 2019.

The 14 OPEC members pumped 295,000 barrels less oil a day in March than in February, restricting total output to 30.385 million barrels, according to a Bloomberg survey of officials, analysts and ship-tracking data.

Late on Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute released its weekly oil report that said crude inventories in the USA rose by 3 million barrels last week.

Supply from Opec hit a four-year low in March, a Reuters survey found, because top exporter Saudi Arabia cut more than it had agreed to and due to the involuntary declines.

The West Texas Intermediate for May delivery rose 0.99 US dollar to settle at 62.58 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for June delivery increased 0.36 dollar to close at 69.37 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

Amid signs that U.S. oil production growth is stalling and that OPEC is tightening the market and may not move in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's latest Twitter address to the cartel "to increase the flow of oil", oil prices rose on Monday to their highest levels in almost five months.

Oil production from Russian Federation fell to 11.3 million barrels per day last month, but missed the country's target under the deal. "I can confirm today three of those importers are now at zero", Brian Hook, the special US envoy for Iran, told reporters, without identifying the countries.

Vice President Mike Pence said on Tuesday the United States would continue to pressure Venezuela's oil industry and those who support it with economic sanctions, citing world oil prices as low enough to allow for the measures.

The OPEC+ reductions allayed concerns over an American Petroleum Institute report that was said to show a 3 million-barrel increase in US crude inventories.

After the data, oil prices were little changed on the day, with US crude up 5 cents at $62.63 a barrel and Brent up 10 cents at $69.47 a barrel.

Official numbers from the US government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) are due later on Wednesday.

The data from the American Petroleum Institute showed an increase of three million barrels in the week ending March 29 whereas the consensus among analysts was that they would fall by 425,00 barrels.

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