OPEC publishes output cut quota for six months to June


OPEC expects 2019 global oil demand growth to slow to 1.29 million bpd from 1.5 million in 2018, though it was more upbeat about the economic backdrop than last month and cited better sentiment in the oil market, where crude is back above $60.

Meanwhile, US factory output expanded by the most in 10 months and the International Energy Agency forecast another year of growth in oil demand.

Expectations that the United States may grant waivers on sanctions it imposed on importing Iranian oil to fewer countries could also ease concerns about oversupply.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries along with other producers including Russian Federation agreed past year to output cuts starting from January 1 aimed at averting a glut.

Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were down $0.44 at $60.88 a barrel by 1035 GMT, while United States crude futures CLc1 fell by $0.53 to $51.78 a barrel.

US output has soared by 2.4 million bpd since January 2018 and stockpiles of crude and refined products have risen sharply, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

This year, oil demand growth is expected to stay robust, but expected slowdown in emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) could have a greater impact on oil demand than expected.

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"By the middle of the year, US crude output will probably be more than the capacity of either Saudi Arabia or Russian Federation", said the IEA, which kept its estimate of oil demand growth unchanged and close to 2018 levels at 1.4 million barrels bpd. "Confidence is weakening in several major economies", said the report.

USA oil prices settled higher on Wednesday.

According to EIA, U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 17.2 million barrels per day last week, 343,000 barrels per day less than the previous week's average.

The decline in Venezuelan production has also slowed, while more growth is expected in the U.S. where liquids production increased by an "incredible and unexpected" 2.1 million barrels a day in 2018, the IEA said.

"At 100.6 million (mb/d), supply was up 2.8 mb/d on a year ago".

Falling oil exports from Iran due to US sanctions that were reimposed in November, have offered some support to fuel prices.

With the rig count stalling, last year's growth rate is unlikely to be repeated in 2019, although most analysts expect annual production to average well over 12 million bpd, making the United States the world's biggest oil producer ahead of Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.