Oil gains as Chinese factory data boosts commodities

Oil rescued from price lows by Libyan supply disruption

Oil rescued from price lows by Libyan supply disruption

Tillerson has frequently disagreed with Trump on how to deal with Iran, with the president favoring a more hawkish approach.

Despite this, general market conditions remain weak, and crude prices have not managed to return to their early 2018 highs of over $70 per barrel for Brent and nearly $67 a barrel for WTI. A broader market slump initially drove prices lower, while surging American production and increasing inventories remain a challenge.

As it had done in several consecutive monthly reports, OPEC lifted again on Wednesday its estimates for non-OPEC oil supply growth this year, but this time the cartel's estimates that for the first time, rival oil supply growth led by the USA will outpace global oil demand growth in 2018.

Brent crude rose 29 cents to $64.93 a barrel at 1156 GMT, climbing from an earlier low of $64.43, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures rose 46 cents to $61.17.

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Tillerson's replacement Mike Pompeo, now the Central Intelligence Agency director, is known as something of an Iran hawk, RBC chief commodities strategist Helima Croft said Tuesday.

Outside the United States, Libya's Zawiya oil terminal returned to normal operations late on Tuesday after workers who were blocking ships from docking agreed to end a one-day strike, two sources said.

Yesterday, industry group the American Petroleum Institute reported that U.S. crude supplies rose almost 1.2 million barrels for the week ended March 9.

OPEC revised up forecasts for non-OPEC supply for 2018 by 280,000 bpd in absolute terms, compared with last month's assessment, to average 59.53 million bpd. The API data also showed gasoline stocks fell by 1.3 million barrels, while distillates fell by 4.3 million barrels.

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Iraq is talking with the Kurds and Turkey about restarting crude shipments from fields in the Kirkuk area of northern Iraq, Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi told reporters in Basra.

Chinese oil production in January and February slipped to about 3.77 million barrels per day (bpd), while the amount of crude processed by its refineries rose 7.3 percent to 93.4 million bpd, suggesting strong import demand.

Looking at crude oil prices today, both WTI and Brent are now trading sideways.

Brent crude has fallen by around 1 percent so far this week, as traders and investors have grown increasingly doubtful that coordinated supply cuts by OPEC and some of its partners might not be enough to offset the relentless rise in US crude production.

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It expects strong oil demand growth and high OPEC compliance to push inventories further below the five-year average in the third quarter.

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