Oil prices lower as inventory build only modest

Oil Holds Gains on Signs of Shale Slowdown as OPEC Output FallsMore

An oil pumpjack and a tank with the corporate logo of state oil company PDVSA are seen in an oil facility in Lagunillas, Venezuela January 29, 2019.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate and international-benchmark Brent crude oil futures are trading lower on Thursday, but inside the previous day's range.

At 447.2 million barrels, US crude oil inventories are about 6 percent above the five year average for this time of year, the EIA reported. That focuses yet more attention on the outcome of U.S.

Earlier, oil price came under pressure following weekly data showing rise in USA stocks.

Inventories of winter fuel in the US fell more than expected last week as cold polar air blasted the nation, though crude stockpiles rose amid record output, according to the Energy Information Administration. The month was Brent crude's best month since April 2016.

About a dozen tankers carrying over 7 million barrels of Venezuelan crude and products were anchored this week at the U.S Gulf Coast waiting for directions on how to pay for the cargoes following the sanctions, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

Another factor behind the oil market rally is the supply cuts imposed by the member-states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied oil producers.

Pakistan elect to field first in second T20 against South Africa
Praises Imad Wasim and Shaheen Afridi for bowling superbly in the Powerplay but laments again that the death overs cost them. At one stage, only 170 was on the cards with Pakistan applying the brakes at the back end of the innings.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, told OPEC it had pumped 10.24 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, two OPEC sources told Reuters, exceeding requirements agreed in the supply pact.

A flotilla loaded with Venezuelan oil has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, some holding cargoes bought ahead of the latest USA sanctions on Venezuela and others whose buyers are weighing who to pay.

At 447.2 million barrels, the EIA said, USA crude oil inventories are still above the seasonal average but not by much. The sanctions aim to block U.S. refiners from paying into PDVSA accounts controlled by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

However, while OPEC is cutting output, the United States has expanded supply, with production most recently totaling 11.9 million bpd.

The move ratcheted up pressure on Maduro to cede power to National Assembly leader Juan Guaido, who the USA and European allies have recognized as Venezuela's rightful president.

"Supply fundamentals have increasingly been turning supportive in recent weeks, but against this the market still worries about the yet-to-be-realized - if at all - impact on demand from weaker macroeconomic fundamentals".

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