Oil price rises despite rising global supply

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Oil prices rose about $1 a barrel a barrel on Wednesday, bouncing from the lowest levels in months, after U.S. government data showed strong demand for refined fuel, but concerns remained over rising global crude supply.

Brent crude futures gained 95 cents to settle at $63.48 a barrel, up 1.52 percent. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.20 to settle at $54.63 a barrel, a 2.25 percent gain.

U.S. crude stocks rose 4.9 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration said, a larger-than-expected increase. Crude inventories have risen for nine straight weeks, the longest streak since March 2017.

The overall market remained weak after crude fell more than 6 percent the previous session, while world equities tumbled on worries about economic prospects.

Brent has fallen by more than 25 percent since reaching a four-year high of $86.74 on Oct. 3, reflecting forecasts of slowing demand and ample supply from Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States.

Worried by the prospect of a new supply glut, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is talking about reducing output just months after increasing production.

OPEC, Russia and other producers are considering a supply cut of between 1 million barrels per day (bpd) and 1.4 million bpd at a Dec. 6 meeting, sources familiar with the issue have said.

However, Saudi Arabia may find it harder to act to support prices, analysts said, after U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday praised Saudi Arabia for helping to lower oil prices.

Riyadh could feel more inclined to heed U.S. demands after Trump promised on Tuesday to be a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia despite saying Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have known about a plan to murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

U.S. energy firms cut three oil rigs in the week to Nov. 21, bringing the total down to 885, General Electric Co’s Baker Hughes energy services firm said on Friday.

“It’s fair to say that the price of oil is going to continue to be pretty volatile between now and Dec. 6 when OPEC meets,” said Brian Kessens, managing director at Tortoise. “There’s going to be a lot of different rhetoric and anticipation of what will actually transpire.”

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