Oil prices edge up in anticipation of extended crude output cut

The American Petroleum Institute reported Tuesday stockpiles fell by 5.8 million barrels last week, more than the 1.8 million-barrel slide analysts predicted.

"Saudi is adjusting supplies because it has somewhat supplied full volumes or even more in the previous months", the source said, declining to give specific details on the cuts.

Saudi Arabia told Asian refiners of its first cuts in crude allocations since OPEC's output reduction took effect in January.

Overnight, crude futures settled higher on Wednesday, as investors cheered the latest report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), showing USA crude inventories fell more than expected.

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International Brent crude futures were at $50.46 per barrel at 0438 GMT on Thursday, up 24 cents, or 0.5 per cent, from their last close.

Higher crude output from the United States should pressure global oil prices through the end of 2018, the USA government said on Tuesday, ahead of a meeting later this month at which OPEC and non-member producers will discuss extending supply cuts.

The oil price has bounced back above $50 after fears about over-supply sent it plunging last week.

"Net length (in open crude oil futures positions) is at its lowest level since November 2016, which could support a significant price rally if OPEC does extend production cuts", Jefferies added. Production from all 13 members slipped by 18,200 barrels a day to 31.73 million last month, with Saudi Arabia continuing to pump below its official target.

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In the report, OPEC pointed to continued high compliance by its members with the supply cut deal and said oil stocks in industrialised nations fell in March - although they are still 276 million barrels above the five-year average.

After securing strong gains following Wednesday's EIA report, oil prices consolidated in USA trading Thursday with concerns over rising production outside OPEC curbing further buying support.

US crude production has risen by over 10 percent since mid-2016 to 9.3 million bpd, close to the output of top producers Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia. USA crude oil inventories fell 1% week-over-week, but rose 2.6% year-over-year. This was the largest streak of back-to-back declines in U.S. oil stocks since September.

"But oil demand growth this year is underwhelming, in part explaining why crude oil prices and refining margins have sold off sharply recently", the bank said in a note to clients.

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"Higher oil production from the United States, along with rising oil output from Canada and Brazil, is expected to curb upward pressure on global oil prices through the end of 2018", EIA Acting Administrator Howard Gruenspecht said in a statement, reports CNBC.

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