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Oil prices advance to highest levels this year

LONDON, April 3, 2019 – Oil prices rose to their highest level this year on Wednesday in Asia despite news that Russia fell short of its oil-output cut target for last month.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak had previously said April would be the first month that Moscow achieved full compliance with the output deal.

US Crude Oil WTI Futures rose 0.4% to $62.85 by 1:50 AM ET (05:50 GMT), while international Brent Oil Futures gained 0.6% to $69.77.

On Tuesday, WTI closed above its key 200-day moving average, a closely watched technical level.

 

So far in 2019, the US crude benchmark has gained 37%, achieving 33% of that in the first quarter ended Friday. The last time WTI gained more for a quarter was during the second quarter of 2009, when it rose about 40%.

US crude inventories jumped unexpectedly last week, while gasoline and distillate inventories drew, the American Petroleum Institute reported on Tuesday.

Traders now await official data due later in the day from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA is expected to cite a crude stockpile drawdown of 700,000 barrels for last week. In the previous week ended March 22, US crude stocks rose by an unexpected 2.8 million barrels.

In other news, Venezuela’s state-run energy company, PDVSA, kept oil exports near 1 million barrels per day in March despite U.S. sanctions, according to PDVSA documents and Refinitiv Eikon data that was cited by Reuters.

In January, US President Trump issued sanctions on PDVSA to prevent Nicholas Maduro, whom the United States and many other countries no longer consider the legitimate leader of Venezuela, from benefiting from oil revenue.

It was reported last week that Trump is considering imposing sanctions on companies from other countries that do business with Venezuela.

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