US Crude Stocks Dip, But Gasoline Inventories Rise

West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 1 cent to $52.66 a barrel.

US energy production is the biggest risk to the bank's price estimates.

Gasoline stocks also posted a counter-seasonal build of 1.4 MMbbl. US production rose to 9.252 million barrels a day in the most recent week, highest since August 2015.

The compliance rate with the agreement among OPEC members and some non-members, including Russian Federation, "has been impressive", the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly oil market report, giving a lift to oil prices.

Oil had rallied above $53 a barrel after some members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries voiced support for prolonging cuts past June, but rising US output is undermining the effort to trim a global glut.

Crude oil prices were relatively even in early Wednesday trading as continued US energy sector strength balances an OPEC-led production ceiling.

A preliminary Reuters poll showed analysts expected U.S. crude stocks to have fallen in the week to April 14, building on a surprise decline the previous week.

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Saudi Arabia, boasting the world's second largest oil reserves, is now leading world's oil exports and is one of the most influential OPEC member.

A surge in USA production is a major threat to OPEC's effort to reset the still-oversupplied global oil market. John Saucer, vice president of research and analytics at Mobius Risk Group in Houston, said the market was not jittery, noting low volatility and weak oil prices, which he said doesn't "really signal a market that's too concerned about geopolitical hotspots".

Brent crude futures LCOc1 fell 85 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $54.04 a barrel as of 12:31 p.m. EDT, while USA crude futures CLc1 lost 77 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $51.64 a barrel.

"Compliance among Opec member countries has been very high to cut output to rebalance oil markets in the first three months of the deal", said Mohammad Barkindo.

USA output, almost 55% of which comes from its seven major shale plays, averaged 9.25 million b/d in the week ended April 14, up almost half a million barrels a day versus the end of 2016, and around 820,000 b/d higher than the recent trough of July 2016, according to the latest EIA data.

Much depends on the upcoming OPEC policy meeting on May 25, at which time a decision is expected on a possible six-month extension to the production-freeze agreement depending on the cooperation of non-OPEC producers (such as Russia).

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