Oil prices edged up on Friday as a drawdown in U.S. crude inventory eased concerns about a global supply glut. Brent crude was up 7 cents, or 0.14 percent, at $51.81 per barrel at 0021 GMT, after closing the previous session down 7 cents at $51.74. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) was up 11 cents, or 0.23 percent, at $48.86 a barrel. Official data showed crude inventories in the United States, the world’s top oil consumer, fell last week as imports plunged, dropping after nine consecutive increases.
Crude stockpiles fell by 237,000 barrels in the week to March 10, beating analyst expectations for an increase of 3.7 million barrels. “Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih continued to express concern about high global inventories,” ANZ said in a note. “However, he did reiterate that the market is currently going in the right direction and fundamentals had improved.” If crude inventories remain high, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) could extend its oil output cut deal, the Saudi energy minister said on Thursday.
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OPEC and non-OPEC members including Russia reached a landmark agreement last year to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017.
But OPEC’s monthly report showed global oil inventories increased in January to 278 million barrels above the five-year average.