Oil climbs as glut wanes, traders eye $70/bbl on United States crude

Image Oil Industry Faces Problems Ahead

Crude prices soar on decline in US inventories

While analysts forecast Brent to rally up to $80 per barrel in the run up to the United States strikes against Syrian targets, such a high is likely to remain for a "short period but not be sustained", cautioned Spencer Welch, oil markets director at IHS Markit.

Crude oil imports have decreased in recent years as USA crude oil production has increased. US crude and gasoline inventories fell last week, the American Petroleum Institute was said to report April 17, in contrast to forecasts for a build in USA government data later.

The surge came on a Reuters report that OPEC's new price hawk Saudi Arabia would be happy for crude to rise to $80 or even $100, a sign Riyadh will seek no changes to a supply-cutting deal even though the agreement's original target is now within sight.

Apart from the technical indicators, investors will also be watching tumbling USA petroleum stockpiles, which now stand below their five-year average for the first time since 2014, and record American production. Even the usual OPEC/Russia chatter of "gradual exit" from the cuts once they expire at end-2018 has not been heard on the market for a couple of months. The result has been a more than 25% increase in the price of oil-currently trading at $68 a barrel-and a steady decrease in stored supplies.

USA benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose as high as $68.91 per barrel for a daily gain of 3.6 percent and reached its highest level since December 2, 2014. "It's not self-defeating if what you are looking for is a little extra money". Late past year, they agreed to extend the pact to the end of 2018.

OPEC and its partners next meet formally on June 22 but a ministerial monitoring panel will gather in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday and are expected to make noises about the broader supply and demand in the oil market.

"Would they declare victory now and stop? The question is at what point do they become uncomfortable with higher prices?" If the USA exits the deal, it could put sanctions back on Iranian oil and the Iranian financial sector. "Russia needs to maintain good relations with its Mideast allies, and now even more than previous year".

Shire, which is based in Ireland and listed on the London stock market, saw its share price rocket more than 10 percent higher.

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