Oil prices rise to multi-month highs

OPEC Maintains 2019 Global Oil Demand Growth Forecast

The association also warned in its report that, despite efforts to balance the market, the crude supply could grow stronger than demand during 2019.

While the US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela have hindered their crude exports, OPEC and Russia's impeded production for the first half of this year is set to lower overall supply on the global market and push prices higher.

Crude oil use in China, the world's biggest importer, in the first two months of 2019 rose 6.1 percent from a year earlier to a record 12.68 million bpd, official data showed this week.

The National Bank of Australia said the outlook for the oil market was mixed because there were downside risks to prices due to concerns about economic growth and strong growth in United States supply, while the cutbacks in OPEC declined and the USA imposed sanctions on Iran and Venezuela. 'This highlights the continued shared responsibility of all participating producing countries to avoid a relapse of the imbalance and continue to support oil-market stability in 2019.

OPEC+ ministers will meet on April 17-18 to decide production policy.

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The OPEC Reference Basket (ORB), a weighted average of prices for petroleum blends produced by the cartel's members, rose in February for the second consecutive month, increasing by about 9 percent, or 5.09 US dollars, month-on-month to average 63.83 USA dollars per barrel, said the report.

OPEC's share of the cut is 800,000 bpd, and the report showed producers were over-delivering.

Production cutbacks by OPEC nations are building a supply cushion that could be called upon to mitigate a possible supply shock from an abrupt drop in crisis-hit Venezuela's output, the IEA said Friday. In 2018, the United States contributed 79 percent of the 2.8 million bpd of non-OPEC output growth. Production in Iran and Libya, also exempt, was little changed.

Crude has rallied nearly 30% this year as the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allied partners - known as Opec+ - capped their output to bring the market back to balance.

BNP Paribas strategist Harry Tchilinguirian told the Reuters Global Oil Forum: "Buyers with (Iran oil) waivers are likely going to hold back until there is more clarity in the USA administration's position".

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