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Oil prices edge up as drop in US crude stocks eases glut worries

An oil derrick and wind turbines stand above the plains north of Amarillo, Texas March 14, 2017. — Reuters pic An oil derrick and wind turbines stand above the plains north of Amarillo, Texas March 14, 2017. — Reuters pic SEOUL, March 17 — Oil prices edged up today as a drawdown in US crude inventory eased concerns about a global supply glut.

Brent crude was up 7 US cents, or 0.14 per cent, at US$51.81 (RM230) per barrel at 8.21pm ET, after closing the previous session down 7 US cents at US$51.74.

US West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) was up 11 cents, or 0.23 per cent, at US$48.86 a barrel.

Official data showed crude inventories in the United States, the world's top oil consumer, fell last week as imports plunged, dropping after nine consecutive increases.

Crude stockpiles fell by 237,000 barrels in the week to March 10, beating analyst expectations for an increase of 3.7 million barrels.

“Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih continued to express concern about high global inventories,” ANZ said in a note. “However, he did reiterate that the market is currently going in the right direction and fundamentals had improved.”

If crude inventories remain high, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) could extend its oil output cut deal, the Saudi energy minister said yesterday.

Opec and non-Opec members including Russia reached a landmark agreement last year to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017.

But Opec's monthly report showed global oil inventories increased in January to 278 million barrels above the five-year average. — Reuters

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