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OPEC+ Boosts Oil Prices But Downside Risk Remains


April West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures have seen varied movements in the past week, influenced by a range of global factors. The interplay of U.S. crude inventories, OPEC+ production decisions, fluctuating demand from China, Middle East tensions, the U.S. dollar's value, and anticipations of the Federal Reserve's policy have all played roles in shaping crude oil prices.

OPEC+ Production Strategy

OPEC+, with Saudi Arabia and Russia at the forefront, has extended its voluntary oil output reduction of 2.2 million barrels per day into the second quarter of 2024. Saudi Arabia's continuation of its 1 million bpd cut, keeping its output around 9 million bpd, and Russia's additional cut of 471,000 bpd, were significant steps. These moves underscore OPEC+'s strategy to control the oil supply in a market with unpredictable demand. The cumulative cuts since 2022 by OPEC+ now stand at approximately 5.86 million bpd, nearly 5.7% of global daily demand.

U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Report

The U.S. EIA report revealed that crude inventories increased by 1.4 million barrels to 448.5 million barrels in the week ending March 1, less than the forecasted 2.1 million-barrel rise. In contrast, gasoline stocks fell sharply by 4.5 million barrels to 239.7 million barrels, and distillate stockpiles decreased by 4.1 million barrels to 117 million barrels. These figures suggest a strengthening in fuel demand and refining activity, which could support…

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