US crude oil refinery inputs increase last week

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

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

Oil was one of last year's worst-performing commodities, but the related exchange traded products immediately shook that laggard status to start 2019.

Oil prices slipped on Thursday after USA crude inventories rose and the country's production held at record levels, but OPEC-led supply cuts and Washington's sanctions against Venezuela supported markets.

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.

Benchmark Brent crude had slipped 62 cents to $61.36 a barrel by 1000 GMT, after rallying about 15 percent in January. That focuses yet more attention on the outcome of U.S. Concern about potentially slowing demand for crude oil has contributed to price reductions.

"Basically it's a pretty supportive report", said Phil Flynn, oil analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

U.S. crude oil inventories climbed by 1.3 million barrels in the week that ended February 1 to 447.21 million barrels, data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed on Wednesday. The month was Brent crude's best month since April 2016.

WTI futures have declined from a peak for this year of $55.26 per barrel on Friday.

Further price support is provided by supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to tighten the market.

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.

The January decrease was the largest in the past 12 months as Opec cut production in response to falling oil prices.

The U.S. announced sanctions on Venezuela's state oil company last week, a move that could curb supplies but the development has yet to push prices up steeply.

USA oil imports from Opec countries have dropped to five-year lows as the oil producing cartel cuts output, while U.S. domestic production grows. For instance, Treasury officials rejected refiners' pleas to allow them to complete oil transactions that were contracted before sanctions were imposed without paying into a special account walled off from Maduro.

Total products supplied over the last four-week period averaged 21.2 million barrels per day, up by 2 percent from the same period past year. USA -imposed trade tariffs would be expanded in China by March unless trade talks advance.

"The market is being boosted by optimism over the higher-level trade talks between the United States and China that were completed on January 31".

U.S. President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union address that a trade deal was possible with China.

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