IEA says global oil market now close to balance

IEA says global oil market now close to balance

The global oil market is "very close to balance" after compliance by Opec with promised production curbs, the International Energy Agency has said.

In the months leading up to March, demand in major oil producing regions like Russia, India, several Middle Eastern countries, Korea and even the United States showed signs of slowing, forcing the IEA to slash its yearly estimate to 97.9m barrels per day.

The Paris-based group, which advises oil-importing countries, expects US output to climb by 680,000 barrels a day this year, higher than its previous forecast.

For 2017, the IEA said it expects non-OPEC supply to rise by 485,000 bpd, above its previous estimate of 400,000 bpd, led by increases in USA production growth. In its short-term outlook report released Monday, the EIA said it expects to see record USA oil production in 2018.

"Although the oil market will likely tighten throughout the year, overall non-Opec production, not just in..."

On Thursday, the global benchmark for crude oil was up 2 cents at $55.88 a barrel.

"The IEA said that global inventories are on the cusp of declining".

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Even at this mid-way point, we can consider what comes next.

Prices had been nearly unchanged earlier in the day as concerns over rising USA production offset support from data showing the first weekly drawdown in US oil inventories in a month.

As with Wednesday's report from Opec in Vienna, the IEA sees the USA as the main contributor to net growth this year of almost 500,000 bpd after a dip last year of almost 800,000 bpd, with the U.S. expected to raise production by 680,000 bpd. Meanwhile, it said, OPEC's oil production fell by 365,000 barrels a day in March as Nigeria and Libya suffered outages.

Oil inventories in the 34-nation Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development increased by 38.5 million barrels in the first quarter to about 3 billion barrels, offsetting the decline in emerging economies, according to the IEA.

OECD stocks "drew moderately" in February and the IEA anticipates they will dip down further in March.

The combination of factors could keep a lid on oil prices, which have risen in the past six months after a three-year slump.

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