Oil Falls to One-Week Low


OPEC and top nonmember producers reportedly will meet May 25 as they remain publicly undecided over whether to extend production cuts.

Opec and other major producers are committed to reducing oil stockpiles, and all countries participating in a six-month deal to pare output are committed to restoring the market's stability.

Oil prices fell on Tuesday, then slid more in post-settlement trade after an industry group reported that US crude stockpiles fell less than expected in the latest week while gasoline stockpiles grew unseasonably. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were also nearly unchanged at $52.43 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia has pledged to do more than its fair share in trimming production in order to add influence to the multilateral agreement.

Next month, members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies will have to decide whether to extend an agreement they made late a year ago to reduce their collective daily crude production by roughly 1.8 million barrels.

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While that news is particularly shocking, gasoline inventories saw a rather unexpected build of 1.374 million barrels-analysts were expecting a 2.2-million-barrel draw for the fuel instead.

Iran pumped just shy of its 3.8 million barrels a day allowed under the deal in the first quarter, according to the International Energy Agency.

Crude oil prices were relatively even in early Wednesday trading as continued US energy sector strength balances an OPEC-led production ceiling.

Benchmark Brent crude futures were down 4 cents at $55.32 at 7.49am Irish time. He predicted that oil prices are going to stay "within this boundary at the moment - the boundary being late 40s up to late 50s".

USA crude's intraday low was also the weakest since April 7.

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They settled down 53 cents at $52.65 a barrel. The American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday reported a decline of 840,000 barrels, while analysts polled by S&P Global Platts forecast a fall of 50,000 barrels.

Over the January-March period, China imported 104.73 million mt of crude oil, averaging 8.53 million b/d - exceeding imports of 8.17 million b/d by the USA in the same period.

Citigroup said OPEC output cuts will be able to offset the response of United States producers to higher prices.

However, Saudi production rose to 10 million bpd in February, up from 9.75 million bpd the previous month, the Jodi data showed, as domestic refiners processed more crude oil.

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