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Oil prices fall on surging USA crude supply, economic slowdown

14 April 2019

The combined supply cuts have helped to drive a 32 percent rally in crude prices this year to almost $72 a barrel, prompting pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump for OPEC to ease its market-supporting efforts.

Venezuelan production dropped due to United States sanctions, which added to an already deep economic and political crisis in the country, while Iranian production is also expected to drop further as a result of the U.S. sanctions which are to be tightened in May. If this happened, any increase would be smaller than 1.2 million bpd, the source said. "Iranian production was stable at 2.7 million barrels per day, (but) could take a further hit if the U.S. cuts import waivers in May", said Jefferies bank on Friday.

Opec+ members will meet in June to discuss oil policy.

In 2018 OPEC+ chose to increase output at its mid-year meeting, only to return to production cuts in 2019.

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The International Energy Agency on Thursday reported an even lower figure for Venezuela's March output and said the country's production is likely to fall further this month.

Venezuela pumped 960,000 bpd in March, down nearly 500,000 bpd from February, OPEC said in a report on Wednesday.

"(Oil markets will remain tight) as long as Saudi Arabia continues to back the production cut deal as aggressively as it has done so far", said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.

It is expected that OPEC may consider raising oil output from July if disruptions continue and prices keep rallying.

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"This turnaround in supply has contributed to a dramatic increase in prices, with Brent crude rising from $50 a barrel at the end of December, to more than $70 a barrel today".

"Crude oil production has not been affected so far and if we can not reduce the Libyan risk to zero, we go into this weekend with a lower risk premium for Libya than a week ago", said Olivier Jakob at PetroMatrix in Zug, Switzerland.

Saudi output dropped to its lowest in over two years, boosting compliance with supply cuts to 153 percent, according to IEA estimates. "The companies are struggling to curb production".

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Oil prices fall on surging USA crude supply, economic slowdown