Crude oil prices were slightly higher Thursday, as a drop in crude exports from Saudi Arabia and a drawdown in U.S. oil inventories supported prices, Kallanish Energy reports.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures settled 24 cents higher at $64 per barrel. Brent crude futures rose 35 cents, or 0.5%, to $71.97/Bbl, near Wednesday’s five-month high of $72.27/Bbl.
Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports fell 277,000 barrels per day to just under 7 million bpd (Mmbpd) in February from the month before, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative.
U.S. crude, gasoline and distillate inventories fell last week, with crude posting an unexpected drawdown and its first in four weeks, the Energy Information Administration data reported Wednesday, which also helped support prices.
The dollar, which gained on strong retail sales data from the region, also weighed on crude futures. A stronger dollar makes oil more expensive for non-U.S. buyers. Equities, which crude oil prices often follow, also posted gains.
Prices have been supported this year by an agreement reached by Opec+, which includes most Opec members and a number of non-Opec producer-countries led by Russia. Opec+ agreed to cut oil output by 1.2 Mmbpd through June.
Global supply has been tightened further by U.S. sanctions on Opec members Venezuela and Iran.
Iran’s crude exports have dropped in April to their lowest daily level this year, tanker data showed and industry sources told Reuters, suggesting a reduction in buyer interest ahead of expected further pressure from Washington.
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