OPEC raises its forecast on global demand for oil

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that crude oil inventories fell by 2.166 million barrels in the week ended April 7.

"New data shows weaker-than-expected growth in a number of countries including Russia, India, several Middle Eastern countries, Korea and the USA, where demand has stalled in recent months", the agency said.

The EIA data did, however, show an unexpected drop in overall USA crude inventories, 2.2 million barrels over the week as imports declined by 717,000 barrels a day.

Opec is considering whether to extend the supply cut deal beyond June and most members, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, are leaning towards this if all producers, including non-Opec also agree, Opec sources told Reuters last month.

Brent crude, a global benchmark, was down two cents, or less than 0.1 per cent, at US$55.96 a barrel in Dubai on Tuesday, after falling as much as 0.5 per cent earlier in the day.

The U.S. data followed bullish reports from OPEC nations, which said they had cut March output beyond measures they had promised, according to figures the group published in a monthly report, as it sticks to an effort to clear a glut that has weighed on prices.

Total oil consumption in 2017 is expected to stand at 96.32 million barrels per day.

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Reports have suggested that the cartel, prompted by kingpin Saudi Arabia, may extend the output cut deal by another six months when its members meet at the end of May.

Also, the 60- to 70-day lag between exports leaving the Arabian Gulf and arriving in major markets means the extent of OPEC supply cuts has yet to bite.

Oil is riding the longest winning streak since December on optimism Saudi Arabia will support an extension to Organisation of petroleum exporting countries-led output cuts just as United States stockpiles show signs of shrinking.

Oil prices pared gains on Wednesday after the report was released to trade at around $56 a barrel.

"OPEC just has to have patience because the markets are rebalancing", Abhishek Deshpande, chief energy analyst at Natixis SA in London, said in a Bloomberg television interview.

Yes, the price rise is being helped by seasonal demand - crude oil prices traditionally rise at this time of year as refineries return to work and begin producing gasoline supplies for the summer driving season - but global oil inventories are being drawn down.

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