Oil prices were broadly higher on Wednesday, supported by a decrease in U.S. inventories and continued concerns about geopolitical tensions which could interrupt supply. U.S. crude inventories dropped by 1 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute announced on Tuesday. The total number of U.S. barrels is now 428 million. Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be published later today.
During Wednesday’s Asian session Brent crude futures were up 0.67 percent to $72.07 per barrel. U.S. WTI futures were up 0.72 percent to $72.00 per barrel.Oil prices remain near the three-year high hit earlier in April as traders wait to see how geopolitical tensions in Syria will factor into the pricing equation. Likewise, renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran can have a similar strengthening effect. Continued production disruptions in Venezuela can also shake the market.
As reported by Reuters, Dutch bank ING expects rising U.S. production will continue to keep pressure on prices, regardless of what else is going on in the world. The bank increased its average 2018 price forecast for Brent to $66.50 per barrel from its original prediction of $60.25 per barrel. It raised its 2018 WTI forecast to $62.50 per barrel from $57.75 per barrel.