Oil up on strong demand, Saudi comments

WTI Crude Oil

Meanwhile, U.S.net imports of crude oil USOICI=ECI fell last week by 1.6 million bpd to 4.98 million bpd, the lowest level since the EIA started recording the data in 2001, reflecting further erosion in a market OPEC has been relying on for decades.

USA crude oil production has risen by a fifth since mid-2016 to more than 10 million bpd.

"Our view is demand will be strong enough, but we don't see a big breakout", said Natixis oil analyst Joel Hancock, adding he expected a price in the range of US$60 to US$70 this year.

By 1:12 p.m. Eastern time (1812 GMT), Brent was down 67 cents to $66.83 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 fell 72 cents to $63.18.

Crude oil prices were hovering near two-week highs on Monday, a possible effect of Saudi Arabia's statement on plans to continue cutting output levels and as last week's upbeat US supply data also continued to support.

"All the indicators that suggest continued fast growth in the USA are in ideal alignment; rising prices leading, after a few months, to more drilling, more completions, more production, and more hedging", the IEA said, warning that the surge in non-OPEC supply-led by the USA -could tip the oil market into deeper oversupply, again.

NY regulator asks Deutsche, other banks about Kushner loans
Kushner's company, which he left to take his position in the White House previous year , is also being investigated by the U.S. Kushner's firm has sought investments from the Chinese insurer Anbang and from the former prime minister of Qatar.

London Brent crude slipped 3 cents to $67.28 a barrel, after climbing nearly 4 percent last week.

Consider this: in January 2017, US crude oil production mounted to 8.82 million barrels per day.

Analysts said that without a smooth exit from the pact, global inventories may drop sharply and trigger a potentially damaging price rise.

US oil is also increasingly being exported, including to the world's biggest and fastest growing markets in Asia, eating away at OPEC and Russian market share. The most active USA gasoline futures RBc2 fell as much as 3.1 percent to $1.9354 a gallon. Analysts had expected an increase of 2.1 million barrels. It's not out of the question to see a USA production record for oil soon. Why? "Global oil fundamentals have been improving ever since OPEC and its allies agreed for production cuts, and the demand story is still supporting prices". While America continues to pump record volumes, accompanied by an increase in exports, Al-Falih said the global oil market is re-balancing and bloated inventories are shrinking. Wednesday's release showed weekly production rose again to 10.3 million bpd. A stronger dollar makes oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Prices were pressured earlier after three of the world's top crude consumers- China, India and Japan - reported a slowdown in monthly factory activity.

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