US crude inventories rose less than anticipated, Brent around $86/bbl

After reaching their highest points since October last week, crude prices have since dropped and are currently only 3% above the average closing price in the first week of March.

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The US crude stockpile increased less than anticipated on Wednesday, March 27, and signs that OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is unlikely to alter its output policy at its technical meeting the following week also contributed to the general stability of oil prices. After reaching their highest points since October last week, crude prices have since dropped and are currently only 3% above the average closing price in the first week of March.
While the more actively traded June contract saw a decline of 21 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $85.42, Brent crude futures for May saw a decrease of 23 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $86.02 per barrel. On Thursday, the May contract is deemed to mature.

What’s driving crude oil prices?

The price of US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for delivery in May decreased by 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $81.49.

-In the week ending March 22, oil stockpiles increased by 3.2 million barrels, according to statistics issued by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Wednesday. This was in contrast to an anticipated decrease of 1.3 million barrels.

-Ahead of next week’s meeting to review the market and members’ implementation of output limits, sources told news agency Reuters that OPEC and its allies, led by Russia (OPEC+), are unlikely to make any changes to oil output policy until a full ministerial session in June. This month, OPEC decided to prolong its output curtailment of roughly 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of June.

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