Crude oil futures higher on expected stock draw, OPEC report

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Analysts surveyed Monday by S&P Global Platts were looking for United States crude stocks to have fallen 1.7 million barrels in the week ended August 10, with refinery runs remaining high on healthy margins and strong export demand. Under the production cuts initiated in January, Saudi Arabia's quota is 10.058 million barrels a day.

Russian oil producers have already returned oil production to record levels this year and will boost crude production further next year thanks to the launch of several greenfield projects, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) said in a report on August 13.

The bloc's output averaged 32.32 million barrels a day in July, up 41,000 barrels a day from June, the group said in its monthly oil market report, citing secondary source figures. Saudi Arabia production fell by 200,000 bpd to 10.288 million bpd. Production from Nigeria and Iraq more than made up for the Saudi's July output reduction.

Despite the slight reduction in forecasts, Opec indicated the robust growth in demand is driving global oil markets into deficit. The current estimate for 2019 global demand is 100.26 million barrels a day, down by 30,000 from last month's estimate.

Still, OPEC nudged downward its forecasts of year-on-year oil demand growth for both 2018 and 2019, while raising its projections for non-OPEC supply growth.

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Moreover, OPEC expects world oil demand to grow by 1.43 million bpd, 20,000 bpd less than forecast last month and a slowdown from 1.64 million bpd in 2018 - yet another factor that may keep a lid on any crude price rises.

US production growth in 2018 is now expected to rise by 1.69 million barrels a day, down by 10,000 from last month's forecast. While OPEC members are expected to add around 700,000 barrels a day, non-OPEC oil suppliers led by Russian Federation would add the rest. Crude stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma USOICC=ECI, delivery hub for USA crude futures rose 1.6 million barrels.

Providing some support for Brent crude were looming US sanctions against Iran's oil exports, set to start from November.

Brent crude oil futures were up 39 cents at $71.15 a barrel at 1213 GMT.

Crude prices were lower Monday morning, with West Texas Intermediate for September delivery trading down about 0.4% at $67.33.

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