S. Arabia to Reduce Crude Output to Lowest Since Jan.

It now expects US oil prices to average $52.24 a barrel this year, down 2.3 percent from its previous projection.

On Wednesday official data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will be released. Refinery utilization rates rose by 0.2 percentage points.US crude imports fell last week by 86,000 barrels per day. United States oil imports from the kingdom declined 24 per cent in the week ended March 31, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) forecast for global economic growth this year was revised upwards by 0.1 percent to 3.3 percent because of a more balanced oil market, the cartel said Wednesday in a report.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude rallied by 0.25% to $52.37 per barrel while the Brent oil for June delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London rose 0.14% to $55.31 per barrel.

The U.S. data followed more bullish data from OPEC nations, which said they had cut March oil output beyond the measures they had promised. The price decline occurred despite the voluntary crude-oil production cuts in the first quarter of 2017 among the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and some non-OPEC producers.

In refined products, RBOB heating oil futures remained flat at 1.659 a gallon at the NYMEX.

Saudi Arabia has made significant cuts, slashing production by 4.5 percent since late 2016 despite a slight growth in March to 9.98 million barrels per day (bpd).

"Crude inventories at Cushing rose 0.28 million barrels (mb) to 69.42 mb; however, this leaves just over 10mb of available storage before operational efficiency starts to be compromised", Standard Chartered said in a note. Saudi's likely support means a lot to oil price.

"OPEC's compliance has been more than anticipated", an OPEC delegate said.

Fearing a loss of market share, Saudi Arabia was shielding its most important customers in Asia from the cuts, continuing to supply them with all contractual volumes.

Gasoline inventories recorded a draw of 3.3 million barrels on the week, a larger drop than consensus forecasts, and inventories are 1.5% lower than a year ago.

However, higher prices are stimulating investment and production elsewhere, including the United States.

In addition to refiners preparing for the coming summer driving months within the US, increased demand for exported crude oil from the U.S.is boosting investor confidence.

  • Eleanor Harrison