Oil prices inch up on signs of tightening global supply
* Saudi Arabia oil exports fall to 7 mln bpd in Feb -JODI
* U.S. inventories last week drop for first time in four
* U.S. oil drillers cut rigs for first week in three -Baker
* Dollar gains over euro after strong U.S. retail sales
* Interactive graphic on inventories https://tmsnrt.rs/2XfuQqn
(Updates prices and market activity to settlement; adds analyst
By Laila Kearney
NEW YORK, April 18 (Reuters) - Oil futures edged up on
Thursday as a drop in crude exports from OPEC's de facto leader,
Saudi Arabia, and a draw in U.S. drilling rigs and oil
inventories supported prices.
Brent crude futures settled at $71.97 a barrel, up
35 cents from their last close and near Wednesday's five-month
high of $72.27. Brent saw a weekly gain of 0.6 percent, marking
the fourth consecutive weekly rise for the international
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures
settled at $64.00 a barrel, up 24.00 cents. U.S. futures gained
just under 0.2 percent for the week, its seventh weekly gain in
Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports fell by 277,000 barrels to
just under 7 million bpd in February from the month before,
according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative
U.S. crude, gasoline and distillate inventories dropped this
week, with crude posting an unexpected drawdown, the first in
four weeks, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) data
showed on Wednesday.
"I think it's pretty clear that tightening supplies and
receding fears of demand growth is a boost to the market to
these five month highs," said Gene McGillian, vice president of
market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
U.S. energy companies this week cut the number of oil
drilling rigs for the first time in three weeks as production
growth forecasts from shale, the country's largest oil fields,
continue to shrink.
The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output,
fell by eight in the week ending April 18, General Electric Co's
Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its weekly
report, which was released a day early because of the Good
Oil has been driven up this year by an agreement reached by
the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its
allies, including Russia, to limit their oil output by 1.2
Global supply has been tightened further by U.S. sanctions
on OPEC members Venezuela and Iran.
Iran's crude exports have fallen in April to their lowest
daily level this year, tanker data showed and industry sources
said, suggesting a reduction in buyer interest ahead of expected
further pressure from Washington.
Strong U.S. retail sales data and earnings from industrial
companies put global slowdown fears, sparked by underwhelming
manufacturing surveys from Asia and Europe, on the back burner.
Thursday's oil rally was kept in check, however, by a rise
in the U.S. dollar, which makes crude more expensive for global
"A significant strengthening in the dollar, especially
against the Euro, tended to limit buying interest," Jim
Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a
(Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London, Aaron
Sheldrick, Colin Packham and Jane Chung;
Editing by Marguerita Choy, Steve Orlofsky and Sandra Maler)
First Published: 2019-04-18 03:19:14
Updated 2019-04-18 21:56:39
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