U.S. oil price declines ahead of data

OPEC's widened tent would still be built on desert sand

OPEC's widened tent would still be built on desert sand

Oil prices rose to two-week highs on Thursday, boosted by data showing a surprise draw in US crude inventories and also by a drop in the dollar.

US crude oil production, meanwhile, has added to supply-side concerns now that it's been holding steady at about 10 million barrels per day.

A stronger greenback typically reduces the allure of commodities priced in the currency, threatening an oil rally that began in June on expectations for robust demand as well as output curbs by OPEC and allies such as Russian Federation.

The futures on USA light crude oil with delivery in April fell by 0.78% to 61.31 Dollars per barrel, while Brent variety erased 0.58% to 64.87 USD per barrel.

On Thursday, Brent crude oil futures were trading at just over $65 per barrel, virtually unchanged on the trading session as at 1200 GMT. Traders are saying a firmer dollar is outweighing a private report of a decrease in US crude inventories. While the OPEC will cut production, the USA output will rise to fill the gap.

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Currency moves were the key driver behind the falling prices Wednesday. For the week, the USA crude contract rose 4.2% after losing almost 10% the previous week.

The WSJ Dollar Index, which measures the USA currency against a basket of 16 others, was last up 0.43%, and it has clawed back much of this year's losses in recent days.

Fears are also emerging over surging United States shale production and stockpiles, which could undermine efforts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners to trim a global glut.

US crude oil production for week ending February 9 was up this week, coming in at 10.271million bpd, yet another new high.

"We've heard guesses that production up again", said James Burr, senior vice president, energy, at INTL FCStone Financial Inc.

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This news overshadowed the some bullish U.S. inventories data.

At the same time, investors also weighed competing long-term demand forecasts. Concurrently, global oil consumption is expected to expand by 1.6 million bpd over the period, but demand is expected to taper after hitting a peak in 2020.

Futures fell 0.7 per cent in late trading yesterday.

The forecast by BofAML is conservative in comparison with recent estimates suggested by Goldman Sachs, which forecast Brent will rise to $75 a barrel in three months and average $82.5 and$75 in the next six and twelve months.

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