Oil at 3-Yr. High After Trump Missile Threats

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Oil prices remain supported by easing concerns over a prolonged trade dispute between the US and China after China's President Xi Jinping gave a speech on Tuesday with a conciliatory tone.

Looking at reactions in markets, crude oil prices continued to accelerate following the EIA report.

An oil pumpjack is seen in Velma, Oklahoma U.S. April 7, 2016.

The US now produces more crude than top exporter Saudi Arabia.

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Whilst Syria is not a major oil exporter, with reduced production since the start of the war, its core allies Iran and Russian Federation are both major global producers.

However, soaring US crude production, which has increased by a quarter since mid-2016 to 10.46 million barrels per day (bpd), is undermining OPEC's efforts to tighten the oversupply and prop up prices.

Prices for the USA oil futures benchmark notched a turn higher late in Thursday's trading session to post a modest gain and hold ground at their highest since early 2014.

John Kilduff, founding partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital, earlier yesterday said USA crude prices could be heading to $70 after breaking through the previous 2018 high of $66.66. "But we also had Saudi Arabia shooting down missiles last night", said George Wilkes, an analyst at Sucden in London.

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The New York Times noted that the White House is mulling a more "robust" strategy that may include an escalation of force. However, the President clarified his remarks overnight saying, "never said when an attack on Syria would take place".

In China, Shanghai crude futures were also up, rising 8.9 yuan to 427.1 yuan ($68.03) per barrel, up 2.1 percent and with record volumes traded on the product that was only launched in late March.

Last night, USA stockpile data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) sent oil markets into increased volatility.

On Thursday, OPEC said the global oil stocks surplus was close to evaporating due to healthy energy demand and its own supply cuts.

"Geopolitical risks outweighed an unexpected rise in inventories in the US", ANZ bank said on Thursday.

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"We still think that the cartel is underestimating non-OPEC supply growth", said Capital Economics analysts, noting that higher prices will encourage USA producers to ramp up activity and OPEC members to exceed quotas. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, meanwhile, reported that total member state output declined by an average 200,000 barrels per day last month.

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