Oil slips as investors weigh up supply factors

Oil Slides on Disappointing U.S. Data After Hitting Two-Month High

US oil prices edge up as market eyes tighter supply

Brent crude futures dropped 24 cents, or 0.38 percent, to settle at $62.51 a barrel.

Meanwhile, U.S. sanctions against Venezuela's oil industry are expected to freeze sales proceeds of Venezuelan crude exports to the United States.

Citgo, the eighth-largest USA refiner and Venezuela's top foreign asset, is in the middle of a tug of war as the Trump administration has made aggressive moves to remove it from Maduro's control.

Moreover, Venezuela is struggling to export oil because of U.S. sanctions in support of "interim president" Juan Guaidó, who is challenging the incumbent Hugo Chávez.

Following a US decision to impose sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry last week, Guaido and the Trump administration have sought to appoint a new board of directors for Citgo. The month was Brent crude's best month since April 2016. US crude output stayed at a record-high 11.9 million barrels a day.

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"Also underpinning the market is strong adherence to the OPEC-led supply cuts during January", reports OilPrice.com. OPEC supply fell last month by the largest amount in two years, a Reuters survey last week found.

The producers known as OPEC+ began cutting production from last month to avert a new supply glut and OPEC has delivered nearly three-quarters of its pledged cutback already, according to a Reuters survey.

A decline in OPEC production and a squeeze on supply from Iran and Venezuela from USA sanctions have led many analysts to forecast that the market will be balanced in 2019.

Meanwhile, average weekly US crude oil production remained at the record 11.9 million barrels per day (bpd) C-OUT-T-EIA it reached in late 2018.

More stringent sanctions on Venezuela that bar companies that do business with PDVSA from accessing the USA financial system resemble Washington's measures on Iran, ANZ Banking Group said.

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However, while OPEC is cutting output, the United States has expanded supply, with production most recently totaling 11.9 million bpd. Both lines carry Canadian crude to the U.S.

Oil steadied on Thursday as growing expectations that global supply could fall significantly short of demand this year lent support, offsetting the negative impact of a rise in USA inventories.

"The market seems to be turning on renewed worries that there doesn't seem to be a lot of progress on the U.S".

WTI prices were $46.54 per barrel at the start of the year, rising to current levels in part on geopolitical concerns about Venezuela, as well as on the possibility of an economic slowdown in China.

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