Oil up after USA crude stock draw, supply growth seen easing

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"While oil demand is expected to grow at a moderate pace in 2019, it is still well below the strong growth expected in the non-OPEC supply forecast for this year", OPEC said in the report.

A widespread power outage in Venezuela that has stalled crude exports from the OPEC-member nation, which has already seen reduced shipments from US sanctions, helped to tighten the market.

Oil rallied on Wednesday on US government data showing a surprise fall in crude inventory and a lower-than-expected estimate of USA crude production growth.

The report said rising production outside the group pressed the need for continued supply restraint by OPEC+.

Oil prices edged higher on Wednesday, supported by planned cuts to Saudi exports and a reduced forecast for U.S. crude output. Opec sources have said an extension of the pact is the likely scenario.

Ongoing supply cuts led by OPEC as well as the US sanctions against Venezuela and Iran also offered some support. The group and its allies are due to meet in April and June to discuss policy. Crude oil imports to the USA fell last week by 523,000 bpd to 6.4 million bpd.

For 2020, the government said it expected United States crude oil demand to rise by 220,000 bpd to 21.03 million bpd, unchanged from previous forecasts.

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Even so, with the demand for Opec crude forecast at 30.46 million bpd, the report indicates that the market would still face a small 2019 surplus if OPEC kept pumping at February›s rate, as rivals such as the United States boost output.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $66.93 a barrel at 0039 GMT, up 26 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih suggested last month that he favored maintaining output curbs when asked to comment on U.S. President Donald Trump's tweet on February 25 demanding OPEC to "relax" its stance on tightening supplies.

U.S. net trade of petroleum, which includes crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas plant liquids, has fallen in recent years, reaching 2.3 million bpd in 2018. Brent touched $67.76 a barrel on Wednesday, its highest since November 16.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $58.55 per barrel, down 6 cents from their last settlement, and not far off their 2019-high of $58.74 from the previous day.

"Tighter global inventories from OPEC-led supply cuts and".