Oil prices rally amid falling United States gasoline supplies, rising crude stockpiles

The rupee fell 30 paise lower to trade at around 69.5 against the dollar on Monday

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures climbed 24 cents to $64.22 a barrel.

Brent crude futures, the worldwide benchmark for oil prices, were up $1.04, or 1.5%, at $71.65 per barrel around 2:30 p.m., after hitting a five-month high.

On Tuesday, the 9th of April 2019, during the midday Asia Pacific trading hours, Brent crude hit a five-month high above $71, while USA crude had resurfaced over $64.50 level for the first time after November 1st, 2018.

Oil prices rose to fresh five-month highs today as markets tightened amid OPEC-led supply cuts, USA sanctions against Iran and Venezuela, and escalating violence in Libya.

An agreement was reached to reduce daily oil production by 1.2 million barrels at the 5th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting in Vienna on December 7, 2018.

Last December, OPEC and other major oil producers, including Russian Federation, pledged to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day in order to prop up prices, effective from this January.

The monthly output cut totals about half a percent of global crude demand.

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In the United States, crude oil production has risen by more than 2 million bpd since early 2018, to a record 12.2 million bpd, with many analysts expecting output to exceed 13 million bpd soon.

The Dutch bank said the reduction was not only down to voluntary supply cuts, which the group started this year to prop up prices, but also involuntary curbs from Venezuela and Iran - which are exempt from the OPEC cut pact - due to USA sanctions.

Russia, not an OPEC-member but a reluctant participant in the supply cuts, signalled yesterday it wanted to raise output when it meets with OPEC in June because of falling stockpiles.

Venezuela's oil production is also forecast to decrease to 750,000 bpd this year, from 1.31 million bpd last year, according to the report.

Crude inventories rose 7 million barrels to 456.6 million barrels in the last week, their highest since November 2017, compared with analysts' expectations for an increase of 2.3 million barrels.

The bank said it expected Brent and WTI to average $70 per barrel and $59 per barrel respectively in 2019, and $65 per barrel and $60 per barrel in 2020.

At 456.5 million barrels, USA crude oil inventories are at the five-year average for this time of year.

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