Crude Oil Bouncing Around $48 As OPEC Sees Stronger Demand

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The Saudi Arabian energy minister Khalid Al Falih agreed with his Venezuelan, Kazakh and UAE counterparts to keep all options open in their push to re-balance world oil markets, including the possible extension of output cuts beyond next March.

Opec and other producers, including Russian Federation, have agreed to reduce output by about 1.8 million barrels per day until next March in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices.

The market "will be paying greater attention than usual" to the inventory numbers, which will give "the clearest picture to date of the fundamental impact to the oil market from Hurricane Harvey", said Robbie Fraser, commodity analyst at Schneider Electric, in a note. Brent crude oil futures for November delivery LCOc1 were up 5 cents at $53.73 a barrel while benchmark US West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 advanced by 32 cents to $47.80.

Oil prices rose on Tuesday after OPEC forecast higher demand in 2018 and Russian Federation and Venezuela confirmed their commitment to a production-cutting deal to reduce the global crude glut.

At the same time, prices have stubbornly stayed around US$50 a barrel after the initial spike, in large part thanks to growing output from the two exempted OPEC members, Nigeria and Libya.

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In its monthly report, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also said the two hurricanes that hit the United States in recent weeks would have a "negligible" impact on demand. The new agreement extends the production deal for nine months until March 2018.

Both U.S. product futures ended lower - gasoline dropped 0.7 percent and heating oil fell 1.4 percent. In the first half of this year, crude oil price declined by around 15 percent, which is its worst H1 showing in 19 years.

Meanwhile, the latest data is expected to show a build in USA commercial crude stocks - over 2 million barrels by some estimates - and a decline in gasoline inventories during the week ended September 8, continuing the pattern from the week before, when reduced refining capacity in Texas weakened domestic demand for crude and cause a draw on gasoline inventories because of lowered production.

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

OPEC and a number of other producers including Russian Federation agreed in May to extend production cuts, originally agreed past year, into 2018 to ease a global supply glut and support the price of crude. Still, on a net basis, US crude inventory builds could grow to record levels with smaller production draws in the coming week, Goldman Sachs said.

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