Brent crude oil dips but remains near 70 dollars a barrel

Brent crude oil dips but remains near 70 dollars a barrel

USA crude inventories fell by 5.1 million barrels in the week ended January 12 to 411.5 million, according to the API. WTI Crude oil futures are quoting at $64.23 per barrel, up 0.45% on the day.

Traders said that oil markets were generally well supported by supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russian Federation, who started to withhold production in January a year ago and are expected to continue their restraint through 2018.

Brent crude oil dipped today but remained near 70 dollars a barrel, a level not seen since dramatic market slump in 2014.

Oil prices rose on Thursday on a reported decline in US crude inventories, and as rebels in Nigeria threatened to attack the country's petroleum infrastructure.

Money managers have raised bullish positions in WTI and Brent crude futures and options to a record, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Intercontinental Exchange.

Brent crude oil dips but remains near 70 dollars a barrel
Brent crude oil dips but remains near 70 dollars a barrel

The U.S. releases official data on its output and OPEC will publish its monthly oil market report Thursday, while the International Energy Agency will release its closely watched oil market report Friday.

"You still have some speculators that are aiming for prices going higher but you will also find the resistance from some producers that are hedging", said Olivier Jakob, managing director of Petromatrix, an oil research firm in Switzerland. "This would put the USA on par with Saudi Arabia and Russia's output", said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at future brokerage Forex.com.

In a note on Tuesday, Morgan Stanley said it now sees Brent hitting $75 a barrel by the third quarter of 2018, while US crude could hit $70 a barrel. USA will rise to about 11 million bpd by the end of next year.

Despite this, traders said prices were unlikely to fall far due to risks to supply disruptions. "It is therefore too early for OPEC to decide on any premature (gradual) exit from the production cuts, even though rumors claim that this is already being discussed".

Refined product supplies in Asia are also healthy, largely thanks to a sharp rise in exports from China.

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