Oil Prices Struggle for Direction ahead of Supply Data


Oil futures traded near unchanged Wednesday after an industry group reported a rise in U.S. crude inventories ahead of official data and investors awaited a meeting of OPEC and its allies on production curbs.

West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery rose 3 cents, or less than 0.1, to 60.58 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. June Brent crude the most actively traded contract, was flat at 64.17 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

News reports said OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC, lowered their forecast for 2021 oildemand growth by 300,000 barrels ahead of a Thursday meeting by energy ministers that will decide what to do with existing output curbs.

Given this pessimistic outlook, it seems likely that the production quotas will be left in place for another month, said Eugen Weinberg, analyst at Commerzbank, in a note.

Originally the group had wanted to gradually ramp production, which had been reduced by up to 1.2 million barrels per day, back up again during the course of the year. However, this is unlikely to happen for now, especially as OPEC is still determined by midyear to completely eradicate the global stock surpluses that had built up due to overproduction during the pandemic, Weinberg wrote.

The American Petroleum Institute reported late Tuesday that U.S. crude supplies rose by 3.9 million barrels for the week ended March 26, according to sources. The data also reportedly showed gasoline stockpiles down by 6 million barrels, while…


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