Oil prices rise as global inventories decline on stronger than expected demand

US Hurricanes Affecting Oil Prices, Saudi Could Cut Output

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to support crude oil prices; buy on dips

That was largely tied to solid gains in crude oil, sparked by signs of reduced global production.

However, crude stockpiles in the US have ballooned recently as Harvey crippled refinery production in the Texas and Louisiana region.

US Hurricanes Affecting Oil Prices, Saudi Could Cut Output

Global oil supply fell for the first time in four months by 720,000 bpd in August due to unplanned outages and scheduled maintenance, mainly in countries not in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec). More than half of the retail service stations in some parts of Florida are without gasoline and the energy sector is scrambling to make adjustments. U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded 0.85 per cent up at $48.64 per barrel.

The assessment echoed a report by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries forecasting higher demand for its oil in 2018 and pointing to signs of a tighter global market.

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"Based on recent bets made by investors, expectations are that markets are tightening and that prices will rise, albeit very modestly", the IEA, which coordinates energy policies in industrialised nations, said in its monthly report.

USA crude imports dropped to 5.7 million bpd last week, the lowest on record, according to the EIA. Refinery utilization rates fell by two percentage points.

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USA crude stocks rose sharply last week as refinery output declined further in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, causing gasoline stocks and distillate inventories to drop as well, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

EIA estimates the price for Brent crude oil will average $51 per barrel for the year and $49 per barrel for WTI.

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