Oil stable on threats of rebel attacks in Nigeria, falling US crude stocks

SINGAPORE: Oil prices were stable on Thursday, supported by tighter inventories of crude as well as rebel threats of an attack on Nigeria’s petroleum industry, but the market was weighed down by a reported rise in US fuel stocks.
Brent crude futures were at $69.34 at 0753 GMT, down 4 cents from their last close. On Monday, they hit their highest since December 2014 at $70.37 a barrel.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $64.03 a barrel, up 6 cents from their last settlement. WTI marked it highest since December 2014 at $64.89 on Tuesday.
Traders said that oil markets were generally well supported by supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, who started to withhold production in January last year and are expected to continue their restraint through 2018.
Despite this, analysts said the recent oil price rally, which has lifted crude by around 14 per cent since early December, may be about to run out of steam.
Data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Wednesday showed a well supplied fuel product market, which could mean lower crude demand going forward.
US refinery crude runs fell by 420,000 barrels per day (bpd) and refined product stocks rose, implying a well supplied market.
Gasoline stocks rose by 1.8 million barrels while distillate fuels stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, climbed by 609,000 barrels, the API data showed.
Refined product supplies in Asia are also healthy, largely thanks to a sharp rise in exports from China. — Reuters