Oil slips as investors weigh up supply factors


Oil fell 1 percent on Wednesday after a report showed a rise in USA crude inventories, while concerns about the impact of US sanctions on Venezuela on global supplies eased.

Over the past four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied averaged 9 million barrels per day, up by 1.6 percent from the same period previous year. Output from OPEC's 14 current members fell by 930,000 barrels a day to 31.02 million, according to a Bloomberg survey.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $55.13 per barrel, down 13 cents, or 0.24 percent, from their last settlement.

USA 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.

Saudi Arabia's exports to the U.S. finished 2018 at just 530,000 barrels per day, a massive drop from the 940,000 overage over the last five years. The US sanctions against the Latin American country will also affect $11 billion worth of exports as Washington is waging a campaign to support Juan Guaido, who recently declared himself Venezuela's new leader. "That drop in distillates is probably enough to give the entire report a more bullish tilt".

Yet some investors believe these concerns may be overblown, in light of the decline in OPEC production and a squeeze on supply from Iran and Venezuela from U.S. sanctions.

The producers known as OPEC+ started cutting production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from last month to avert a new supply glut, and OPEC has delivered nearly three quarters of its pledged cuts already, a Reuters survey showed last week.

Argentines march to USA embassy to protest Venezuela intervention
People cross into Venezuela over the Simon Bolivar worldwide bridge in Cucuta, Colombia February 4, 2019. Maduro, 56, has repeatedly accused the United States of fomenting a coup.

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs increased during the week ending February 1, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday. The sanctions aim to block United States refiners from paying into PDVSA accounts controlled by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

However, a stronger United States dollar limited gains on Wednesday. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments.

In particular, he said, the market is anxious about whether demand is sufficient to absorb growing crude production from the U.S.

-China trade dispute have also weighed on the market. Oil fell on Tuesday after a survey showed euro zone business expansion almost stalled in January.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead a delegation to Beijing next week to lay the groundwork for a meeting between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping later this month.

Senior U.S. and Chinese officials are poised to start another round of trade talks next week.