EIA reports smaller-than-expected rise in USA crude supplies, output climbs

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Oil prices rose on Monday as key USA refineries began restarts following Hurricane Harvey, which may help revive crude oil processing, while fuel prices fell as Hurricane Irma is likely to clip demand for gasoline and diesel.

Opec and other producers including Russia, Mexico and Kazakhstan pledged to reduce output by about 1.8 million barrels a day to eliminate a global surplus that was weighing on prices.

The deal agreed late past year helped to keep prices as high as $58 a barrel in January, but they have since sagged as global stocks have not fallen as quickly as expected.

"The oil market reacted to the Saudi talks", said Tomomichi Akuta, senior economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting told Reuters.

Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday, amid forecasts for an oil-stock gain of around 2.3 million barrels. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 declined 30 cents at $47.77 a barrel. Crude stocks likely rose 4.8 million barrels.

Oil edged higher for a second day as OPEC was said to consider keeping production caps in place beyond their March expiration and US crude refiners accelerated their post-hurricane recovery.

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Now many refineries are restarting, including the largest US refinery.

"Harvey, as a result, had a significant negative impact on refineries and ethylene crackers utilization and their crude and [natural-gas liquids] feedstock demand", the analysts said.

"Depending on the pace of recovery for the USA refining industry post-Harvey, very soon OECD product stocks could fall to, or even below, the five-year level", it said referring to Hurricane Harvey which hit the United States two weeks ago.

Gasoline inventories, according to the EIA fell last week, by 8.4 million barrels, generally in tune with API's estimate of a 7.896-million-barrel decline-and the largest gasoline draw on record. Some OPEC and non-OPEC ministers have been in discussions in recent days over their production cut strategy, with one of the options on the table being to extend the output restraint agreement beyond its current expiration at the end of March 2018.

Crude oil futures continued to rise Tuesday amid hopes that OPEC can re-balance oil markets. This could reinforce any effect EIA's oil inventory figures would have on prices but to what extent, remains uncertain.

"Global economic growth momentum has gained traction lately and has become more balanced, with all major economies now showing positive growth this year, a trend that is forecast to continue into 2018", OPEC said in its report.