Oil market to remain oversupplied despite deepening OPEC+ cuts -IEA

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Prices had fallen on December 11 after a report showed an unexpected increase in USA crude inventories.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries released a more bullish outlook for 2020, forecasting demand for its crude to average 29.58 million bpd next year, less than the group's November output.

Crude inventories rose by 1.4 million barrels in the week to December 6 to 447 million. But one country's increase in production may not have a positive impact in the near future in view of OPEC's decision to curb output in an attempt to keep inventories at a level that holds profit margins attractive.

Brent crude futures were down 0.79 percent to $63.83 per barrel. Oil prices have been especially vulnerable to the U.S. -Sino trade war, as analysts have remained concerned that a drawn-out trade war could reduce demand.

Brent futures rose 28 cents, or 0.4 percent to $64.00 a barrel, after skidding 1 percent on Wednesday on the U.S. stocks build-up.

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Despite cutting its forecast for growth in oil production outside of the OPEC oil cartel, the IEA said "there could still be a surplus of 0.7" million barrels per day (mbd) in the global market in the first quarter of next year.

The report retreats further from OPEC's initial projection of a 2020 supply glut as output from rival producers such as US shale has grown more slowly than expected.

Still, the central bank did offer a more upbeat view on the economy, which can boost prospects for oil demand.

OPEC and its allies, on the other hand, had begun capping its supply since 2017, due to continuous increase in USA crude production, which soared from about 8.8 million BPD to a record 13 million BPD recently and is expected to rise further in 2020.

Refinery utilization rates fell 1.3 percentage points last week to 90.6% of total capacity.

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Inventories of petroleum products also increased with gasoline stocks surging by more than 5 million barrels and distillates gaining a bit over 4 million barrels - with both more than double expectations. OPEC might indeed be in agreement of 1.6 million quota barrels per day without cutting anymore actually.

"A week ago, OPEC surprised with less oil than expected", said Olivier Jakob, managing director at consultants Petromatrix GmbH in Zug, Switzerland.

"In 2020, non-OPEC supply is expected to see a continued slowdown in growth on the back of decreased investment and lower drilling activities in US tight oil", OPEC said, using another term for shale.

Focus shifts to FOMC's updated economic projections.

Oil stockpiles could rise despite production cuts agreed last week by the world's leading exporters, holding back prices. "There's uncertainty around fuel demand growth because of the world trade crisis", McGillian said.

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The FOMC repeated in its statement that economic activity has been rising at a "moderate" rate with "solid" job gains. The long-run unemployment rate was seen at 4.1 per cent, down from 4.2 per cent in the September forecast.

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