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Oil slightly down ahead of US data

LONDON, February 27, 2018 – Crude oil prices slipped lower on Tuesday, ahead of this week’s U.S. supply reports but the commodity remained within close distance of recent mutli-week highs amid sustained optimism over the rebalancing of the market.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude April contract was down 18 cents or about 0.28% at $63.73 a barrel by 10:00 a.m. ET (14:00 GMT), just off Monday’s more three-week highs of $64.22.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for April delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London slipped 10 cents or about 0.15% to $67.19 a barrel, after hitting a more than two-week peak of $67.65 in the previous session.

Oil prices strengthened after Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih said over the weekend that the country’s oil production in January-March would be well below output caps, with exports averaging below 7 million barrels per day (bpd).

 

Falih added that he hopes global oil producers will be able to create a permanent framework to stabilize oil markets after the current supply cut deal ends this year.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, agreed in December to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

The commodity also remained supported after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported last week that crude oil inventories fell by 1.6 million barrels and that oil production slipped to 10.27 million bpd from 10.271 million bpd.

Market participants were now looking ahead to fresh information on U.S. stockpiles. The American Petroleum Institute was set to publish its weekly report later Tuesday, while official data by the U.S. Energy Information Administration was expected on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures were down 0.32% at $1.997 a gallon, while natural gas futures dropped 0.52% to $2.672 per million British thermal units.

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