Oil markets diverge, with United States crude rising while Brent takes a knock

Oil prices rally on supportive comments

Surging US production is offsetting those efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and some other producers including Russian Federation to curb production by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) till the end of 2018.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and 10 producers outside the cartel, including Russian Federation, have been holding back crude output by 1.8 million barrels a day since the start of previous year.

West Texas Intermediate for March delivery advanced 82 cents to $62.50/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"Oil got mild support from gains in Asian equity markets, but has been getting pressure from the rise in USA rig count and a slight recovery in the dollar".

A weaker greenback potentially supports consumption of dollar-denominated commodities as it makes fuel and raw materials cheaper for countries using other currencies. Brent is now trading at a premium of less than $3 compared to WTI, down from above $7 at the start of 2018.

However, higher United States production seems to be trying to restrain OPEC's efforts.

Prices rose on the back of ongoing weakness in the US-dollar against other leading currencies, further supported by rising stock markets, traders said.

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WTI crude futures CLc1 were at $59.06 a barrel, down 13 cents from their last settlement.

In China, January crude oil imports jumped to a new record of 9.57 million bpd, but forecasts of slower GDP growth are making analysts wary of overly optimistic projections.

However, earlier this week both Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation admitted publicly that the metric to measure stockpiles is flawed and must be replaced - which implies that any claim made by OPEC or other parties about the true state of the crude market is questionable at best.

Crude oil prices edged higher on Monday to hit their highest level in almost two weeks, buoyed as Asian shares joined a global recovery in equity markets and by worries over tensions in the Middle East. The dollar was trading at 107.15 yen, up 0.53 percent.

Gold shed 0.3 percent to 1,342.07, while gold futures for the April contract fell by 0.8 percent to $1,344.60.

The increase in US production is not "a blip", Brouillette said.



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