Oil Markets Calm As Data Shows Smaller Inventory Build-Up (USO)

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According to the Weekly Petroleum Status Report by the EIA, U.S. commercial crude oil inventories of the week ending March 9 increased by five million barrels from the previous week.

In all, 24 countries that control about 60% of global crude production pledged to withhold about 1.8 million barrels a day of output-almost 2% of the world's output.

"We are now only two to four weeks away from when weekly oil inventory data will start to draw again which should be supportive for oil prices", SEB commodities strategist Bjarne Schieldrop said.

May Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, was down 33 cents, or 0.5%, to $64.31 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange. But the American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group, said late Tuesday that US crude supplies rose roughly 1.2 million barrels for the week ended March 9.

The group also reported the first increase in oil inventories across the world's most industrialised nations in eight months in January, a sign the impact of its coordinated output cuts may be slowly waning, and cut its forecast for demand for its own crude.

Despite this, oil markets remain relatively weak. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were up six cents at $60.77 a barrel.

"The ever-expanding United States supply continues to pose significant downside risk to oil prices", said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia/Pacific at futures brokerage OANDA.

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Opec said in its monthly report it expects supply from non-members to grow more quickly than it had previously expected.

U.S. crude production has soared by nearly a quarter since mid-2016 to 10.37 million bpd, overtaking output by top exporter Saudi Arabia.

Estimates by the EIA show global supplies will exceed 100 million bpd for the first time in the second quarter of 2018, while demand will only break through that level in the third quarter, implying a slightly oversupplied market.

US production growth is still expected at 2.7 percent in 2018, up from 2.3 percent in 2017.

A multitude of factors were weighing on oil prices, but one factor stands out among the rest, and that's the steadfast climb of USA crude oil production, which for the week ending March 2 increased again, coming in at 10.369 million bpd-close to the 10.7 million bpd figure that the EIA suspects we will see in 2018.

That would be a reversal from a supply deficit in 2017 and early 2018.