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April 17, 2019

Oil prices edge above $72 a barrel as US crude inventories drop

Oil prices have increased to $72 a barrel over an unexpected drop in US crude inventories and steady economic growth in China.

Oil prices have increased to $72 a barrel over an unexpected drop in US crude inventories and steady economic growth in China.

International benchmark Brent crude oil futures jumped 34 cents to $72.06 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 33 cents to trade at $64.38 per barrel, reported Reuters.

According to data released by the American Petroleum Institute (API), US crude stocks dropped by 3.1 million barrels in the week ended on 12 April 12 to 452.7 million.

Phillip Futures commodities analyst Benjamin Lu was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Crude oil futures edged up as market sentiments were buoyed by a surprise drawdown in US crude oil inventories and tighter market fundamentals in the current term.”

"Crude oil futures edged up as market sentiments were buoyed by a surprise drawdown in US crude oil inventories and tighter market fundamentals in the current term."

Growing refinery throughput in China also supported oil prices. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, refinery throughput March increased 3.2% to 12.49 barrels per day (bpd).

Other factors including supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, including Russia, as well as US sanctions on OPEC members Venezuela and Iran tightened the market.

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OPEC-member countries, along with their allies, restricted their output by 1.2 million bpd.

The participants will meet in June to discuss the future of the deal. Concerns that Russia may leave the supply-cut deal had restricted the oil market from further gains.

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