Oil prices rise on report of lower U.S. crude

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Oil prices lifted by a report that U. S. crude inventories fell last week. The Brent crude futures were at $67.84 per barrel.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at 63.85 dollars a barrel. That was up 46 cents, or 0.7 per cent from their last settlement.

The market was supported by a report by the American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday saying that U.S. crude inventories fell by 1.1 million barrels in the week to Feb. 2 to 418.4 million barrels, traders said.

A group of oil producers around OPEC and Russia have been withholding supplies since last year in order to tighten supplies and prop up prices.

The cuts are set to last through 2018. In the short-term, demand is expected to slow due to refinery maintenance at the end of the northern hemisphere winter season.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects U.S. output to rise to an average of 10.59 million bpd in 2018, and then 11.18 million bpd by 2019.

That would be more than top producer Russia which pumped on average 10.98 million bpd out of the ground in 2017.

The EIA also lowered its U.S. oil demand growth forecast for 2018 from 470,000 bpd to 450,000 bpd.

Suzan O.