Markets Poised Ahead of US Data Crude Stockpiles

On Tuesday the markets were poised ahead of the release of data on US crude stockpiles, after oil prices enjoyed a week of prices rallying up 5 percent.

US West Texas Intermediate crude for May contract gained 0.02 percent or $0.01 to $53.09.

The NYMEX barrel gained 5.4 percent to $50.24

Brent Oil on ICE Futures Exchange for June delivery fell 5 cents to $55.93 a barrel with the global benchmark so far for April haven risen 6 percent.

Production cuts that OPEC and non-OPEC members agreed to in November last year, were to curb output by a total of 1.8 million barrels per day. The consensus amongst investors is that the cuts in output have been effective and are bullish that following the joint committee of ministers in April there well may be a decision to extend the cuts beyond the cut-off point of June. Oil minister Alexander Novak in Russia plans to speak to Russian oil producers about extending their curbs in production as well. He said that by mid-April their oil output cuts will be 250,000 barrels per day.

In March, Saudi Arabia cut production to 9.9 million barrels per day, Nigeria cut production to 1.27 million barrels per day. Venezuela cut from 2.248 million to 2.235 million while there is an increase in production in Qatar to 621,000 barrels per day in March, up from 545,000 in the previous month. Libya who has seen political turmoil over the last several months, dropped its production by 490,000 barrels per day.

US Drilling Activity

While the major oil producers attempt to cut output, US drilling activity has increased for the 12th week, according to data released by Baker Hughes. There were 10 new US rigs for this week, making a total of 672.

There was a decline in US crude imports which fell by 15,000 barrels per day to 7.8 million.

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