Oil steadies as investors weigh up odds of global supply squeeze

Crude Oil

Venezuela's opposition is opening a US fund to receive the proceeds of oil sales, a key measure to secure revenue for its effort to dislodge President Nicolas Maduro, an opposition lawmaker said on Wednesday.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other non-OPEC producers - an alliance known as OPEC+ - agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million bpd from January 1.

Prices also dipped after data showed USA crude inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for US crude futures, rose by more than 943,000 barrels in the week to February 1, traders said, citing data from market intelligence firm Genscape.

International Brent crude oil futures on Monday were down 20 cents, or 0.32 percent at 0339 GMT to $62.54 a barrel, after closing up 3.14 percent in the previous session to their highest close since November 21.

"The price has yet to react in any noticeable way", Fritsch said of the sanctions.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 70 cents, or 1.27 percent, to settle at $54.56 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, told OPEC it had pumped 10.24 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, two OPEC sources told Reuters, exceeding requirements agreed in the supply pact.

According to the Weekly Petroleum Status Report, U.S. crude oil imports averaged 7.1 million barrels per day last week, up by 63,000 barrels per day from the previous week, while crude oil exports saw a daily average of 2.9 million barrels, up by 926,000 barrels per day from the previous week.

The sanctions will sharply limit oil transactions between Venezuela and other countries and are similar to but slightly less extensive than those imposed on Iran a year ago, experts said on Friday after looking at details posted by the Treasury Department.

Gasoline stocks increased by 513,000 barrels, less than anticipated, while distillate stockpiles posted a larger-than-expected drop by 2.3 million barrels. Venezuela, an OPEC member, is like Iran and Libya exempt from making voluntary curbs under the deal. -China trade deal. An economic slowdown in the Euro Zone is now a concerns after German industrial output unexpectedly fell in December for the fourth consecutive month. Oil prices fell on Tuesday after a survey showed euro zone business expansion almost stalled in January.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week said he would meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in the coming weeks to try to settle the dispute.

Traders are still anxious about the global economic slowdown especially because of the uncertainty surrounding the U.S.

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