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Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Oil prices increase due to decrease in US crude inventory and tight global supply.

Oil prices rose in early Asian trade on Thursday after reaching the highest settlement in 2023 in the previous session. This surge was fueled by concerns over tight global supplies, as a significant drop in U.S. crude stocks added to the worries. Brent crude futures climbed to $96.71 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose to $93.88. The unexpected decline in U.S. crude stocks, falling by 2.2 million barrels to 416.3 million barrels, far exceeded the 320,000-barrel drop that analysts had anticipated. Additionally, crude stocks at the Cushing storage hub in Oklahoma fell to just under 22 million barrels, the lowest level seen since July 2022. These declining stockpiles have raised concerns about the remaining oil quality at the hub and the potential to fall below minimum operating levels.

The drop in crude stocks comes as Saudi Arabia and Russia, both members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies (OPEC+), have cut production by 1.3 million barrels per day until the end of the year. This reduction in output has contributed to the tighter global supply situation. Furthermore, President Vladimir Putin has directed his government to ensure retail fuel prices stabilize after a recent increase caused by a rise in exports. In response, his deputy prime minister has suggested restricting the exports of oil products purchased for domestic use, which would further tighten the market. These developments highlight the ongoing challenges in the global oil market, with concerns over supply levels and potential price volatility due to geopolitical and economic factors.

Despite these concerns, oil prices have experienced a significant rally in recent sessions, reflecting the strong demand for fuel and other petroleum products as economies around the world recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the market remains sensitive to any disruptions in supply or geopolitical tensions that could impact production and distribution. Investors and industry analysts continue to closely monitor factors such as OPEC+ production decisions, global inventories, and economic indicators to assess the future direction of oil prices. As the world seeks a balance between energy transition and meeting the current demand for oil, volatility in the market is likely to persist.

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