Bearish IEA Demand Outlook Could Pressure Prices


Crude oil prices moved lower on Thursday, after data late Wednesday showed that inventories rose unexpectedly last week, eclipsing recent signs that the market is tigthtening, while markets awaited the U.S. Energy Information Administration's weekly report due later in the day.

Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil prices, were trading at $56.75 per barrel at 0649 GMT, up 14 cents, or 0.25 percent, from their last close. USA light crude was down 67 cents to $50.63 a barrel.

According to the EIA, crude inventories fell by 2.7 million barrels in the week to October 6 compared with analysts' expectations for a decrease of 2 million barrels.

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In its monthly report released on Wednesday, OPEC indicated that market rebalancing will continue amid forecasts that global oil demand will rise by around 30,000 barrels a day for this year and 2018. Analysts in a Wall Street Journal survey had projected a 1.7 million-barrel decline.

Oil has strengthened in recent weeks due to a sharp drawdown in distillates feeding expectations for renewed demand, but it is unclear whether US crude prices will regain the high of almost $53 a barrel reached in late September.

"Taking 2018 as a whole, oil demand and non-Opec production will grow by roughly the same volume and it is this current outlook that might act as the ceiling for aspirations of higher oil prices", the agency said. This likely means OPEC must deepen its production cuts to finish its job of bringing oil stocks back to the five-year average.