United States crude oil inventories increases as prices edge up

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As of 1653 BST, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for next month delivery were higher by 0.074% at $67.75 a barrel.

After initial losses on the release of the data, USA crude futures rebounded and pared losses, trading down 4 cents at $67.66 a barrel by 10:57 a.m. EDT (1457 GMT).

Traders said markets rose on the expectation that the USA would in May re-impose sanctions against Iran, a major oil producer and member of oil cartel Opec.

US President Donald Trump will decide by May 12 whether to restore US sanctions on Tehran, which would likely result in a reduction of its oil exports.

Further pushing oil prices has been declining output in Venezuela, OPEC's biggest producer in Latin America.

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Net U.S. crude imports fell last week by 43,000 barrels per day as exports rose almost 600,000 bpd to a record 2.3 million bpd, according to the EIA data.

US oil major Chevron Corp (CVX.N) has evacuated executives from Venezuela after two of its workers were imprisoned over a contract dispute with state-owned oil company PDVSA.

Venezuela's plunging output and looming USA sanctions against Iran come against a backdrop of strong demand, especially in Asia, the world's biggest oil consuming region.

Countries (OPEC) which were introduced in 2017 with the aim of propping up the market, but also because of political risk to supplies in the Middle East, Venezuela and Africa.

USA crude oil inventories C-STK-T-EIA rose by 2.2 million barrels in the week to April 20, to 429.74 million barrels.

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At 429.7 million barrels, US crude oil inventories are in the lower half of the average range for this time of the year.

The aforementioned combo of higher exports, stronger refinery runs and lower waterborne imports have colluded to leave Q1 USA crude inventories 110 million barrels lower than end-March past year.

USA crude oil and gasoline inventories unexpectedly rose last week even as exports hit record highs, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday in an overall bearish report that raised some concerns about oversupply.

The World Bank has projected a 20% jump in global prices of energy commodities - crude oil, gas and coal - this year, indicating a continued squeeze on fuel consumers in India and raising the prospect of cramping the government's social spending ability as it heads back to people for another mandate. Iran has doubled its crude exports to about 2.2-2.3 million b/d since the deal took effect in January 2016.

Additionally, combined exports of crude and petroleum products hit a weekly record at 8.3 million bpd, of which more than 6 million bpd was from products like gasoline and diesel fuel.

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However, the gains were capped by selling pressure in metals, IT, teck, power, consumer durables and PSU stocks. Among the early gainers were, Bharti Airtel , Bharti Infratel, HPCL, BPCL and Reliance Industries.

Reuters had on Monday quoted traders as saying that the relatively high oil prices, coupled with the surging U.S. output, were making it harder to sell Russian, Nigerian and other oil grades in Europe, where the United States oil flooded.

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