Oil rises for fourth day, shrugs off inventory build

Oil rises for fourth day, shrugs off inventory build

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

Brent futures rose 35 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $69.72 a barrel by 0207 GMT, after earlier reaching $69.87, the highest since November 12 and within touching distance of $70.

Meanwhile, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported that U.S. crude oil inventories climbed by 3.0 million barrels in the week ended 29 March 2019.

The balance between supply and demand in the oil market is fragile, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said on Monday, as he called on crude producers to be wary of troubles caused by United States sanctions.

The brent crude rose to $69.11, while USA crude tapped at $61.70, highrst since November 2018.

March's output is the lowest by OPEC since February 2015, excluding membership changes since then, Reuters surveys showed.

Oil prices rose for a fourth day on Wednesday, pushing Brent towards $70 a barrel as support from OPEC-led supply cuts and US sanctions overshadowed a report showing an unexpected rise in USA inventories.

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"The production cuts by OPEC plus are providing a nice backdrop here for higher prices and until we see USA production reassert itself, the easier move is higher for oil", said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

Oil prices have been supported for much of 2019 by the OPEC and non-affiliated allies like Russian Federation, who have pledged to withhold around 1.2 million barrels per day of supply this year.

The Saudi Arabia-led oil cartel produced 30.40 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, down 280,000 bpd from February, according to a Reuters survey released on Monday. "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.

US Vice President Mike Pence this week confirmed Washington would continue to target Venezuela, citing world oil prices as low enough to allow for the measures.

That contributed to a 1.8m barrel drop in motor gasoline imports, pushing them 2% below their five year average for that time of year, while distillate fuel inventories shrank by 2.0m barrels to stand 6% under their five-year average.

On the supply front, booming American production has steadied, with the USA government reporting on Friday that domestic output in the world's top crude producer edged lower in January to 11.9 million barrels per day.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) confirmed a build up and reported a rise of 2.8 million barrels of crude oil inventories for the week.

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