U.S. gasoline stockpiles dropped by 3.57 million barrels to 224.3 million last week, according to the EIA. They were forecast to decrease 1.2 million barrels, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
The IEA today curbed estimates for global fuel consumption in 2013, predicting demand will increase by 820,000 barrels a day amid “elusive” economic growth.
The 12 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries pumped 30.49 million barrels a day in February, up from January’s output of 30.34 million, the IEA said in its monthly oil market report. Iraqi output rose 6% to 3.14 million barrels a day in February, up from 2.97 million barrels the previous month, according to the IEA.
“Rising OPEC production is putting downward pressure on Brent,” Armstrong said.
Brent, the benchmark for half the world’s oil, is more sensitive to changes in Middle Eastern and North African production because Europe has a greater dependence on supplies from the region.
Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait, OPEC’s biggest producers, are in talks to ship extra crude to India as the nation prepares to halt purchases from Iran because of global sanctions, four people with knowledge of the matter said.
Indian refiners, which are waiting for an order from the oil ministry to stop buying Iranian cargoes, are discussing annual term contracts with the countries for the year starting April 1, the people said this week, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential.
Iranian oil shipments advanced 13% last month even as the U.S. implemented sanctions complicating sales from the Persian Gulf country, the IEA said. Countries purchased 1.28 million barrels a day from Iran in February, compared with an upwardly revised 1.13 million in January.
WTI may extend gains as a measure of technical momentum increases. The moving-average convergence divergence indicator is above its signal line today for the first time since Feb. 1, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Investors typically buy contracts on a so-called bullish MACD crossover. Crude advanced from around $88 a barrel to above $98 over six weeks from mid- December after a similar chart pattern.