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In January, stockpiles of crude oil and gasoline were well above their five-year averages.

Pushing in the other direction have been fears over the global economy and signs that the price rally will unleash a new torrent of American shale oil.

Brent prices for the first quarter of 2019 averaged 63 dollars per barrel, 4 dollars lower than the same period in 2018.

Supplies from OPEC dropped by half a million barrels a day in March to a four-year low as Saudi Arabia continued to curb production.

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In a monthly report released on Wednesday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said Venezuela told the group that it pumped 960,000 barrels per day (bpd) in March, a drop of nearly 500,000 bpd from February.

"In short, there is room to run to the upside given that geopolitical hotspots are still a clear and present danger for the market, but many wounded bulls remain following the Q4'18 washout", the analysts said, referring to the collapse in oil prices at the end of past year.

Global oil supplies declined last month amid another steep drop in OPEC output, as the Saudis cut more production than promised and Venezuela's unintended losses swelled.

Goldman Sachs also said oil prices "will decline gradually from this summer as shale and OPEC production increases".

Global oil prices will average $75 a barrel in 2019, and consumers may find themselves contending with bouts of $80 crude this summer, RBC Capital Markets says. This is being supported by real supply data.

US crude stockpiles expanded by about 7 million barrels last week, more than double the amount analysts had forecast, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. Two days ago, OPEC reported Venezuela's March output sank to 732,000 bpd, citing independent sources, while figures provided by the country put production at 960,000 bpd.

In recent months the forecasts for global economic growth have been trimmed back on concerns about the impact of trade disputes, which come as export powerhouse China has been experiencing slower rates of expansion. The former is having its own problems with a pipeline capacity shortage and a production cut that has boosted prices, and the latter has yet to reverse a fall in oil production.

The agency, which coordinates the energy policies of developed nations, saw oil stocks in industrialized countries fall in February by 21.7 million barrels, putting inventories 16 million barrels above their five-year average.


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