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However, this bullishness may not achieve much, amid doubts that everyone is on board with extending the OPEC and Russia's production cut agreement until the end of 2018.

Global oil demand growth looks likely to increase more slowly over the coming months, as warmer temperatures cut consumption, which may tilt the market back into surplus in the first half of next year, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

Oil markets stabilized on Thursday as expectations that OPEC would extend production limits balanced rising USA crude production and inventories.

At the time of writing, WTI was trading at US$55.08 a barrel and Brent crude was at US$61.52, both down by more than a percent since close yesterday.

Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil prices, were at $61.98 a barrel at 4.38am GMT, 11c above their last close.

Oil inventories in the world's richest nations fell by 40 million barrels in September, breaking below 3 billion barrels for the first time in two years, driven in part by Hurricane Harvey, which shuttered much U.S. refining capacity in August.

"The oil market faces a hard challenge in 1Q18 with supply expected to exceed demand by 600,000 bpd followed by another, smaller, surplus of 200,000 bpd in 2Q18", the agency said. Refineries ran at 91 percent of capacity, processing 16.6 million bpd of crude oil, compared with 16.3 million bpd a week earlier. On the supply side, rising USA output also pressured prices.

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"To compete with Brent in Asia, WTI prices must reflect the additional transportation costs USA crude oil exports incur on their way to Asia", EIA reported.

USA oil production C-OUT-T-EIA has already increased by more than 14 percent since mid-2016 to 9.62 million bpd.

Consumer price inflation minus food and energy rose slightly in October while retail sales were a bit higher, according to government data.

"Oil is already facing stiff competition from ever-cheaper and more environmentally friendly energy sources as traditional fossil fuel users switch to cleaner, low-carbon alternatives", IEA said in its World Energy Outlook 2018.

The deal is due to expire in March 2018, but OPEC will meet on November 30 to discuss policy, and it is expected to agree an extension of the cuts.

"On global oil demand, longer term questions persist around the driving forces, with the oil market contending with deindustrialisation, a global reduction in carbon emissions and an increasing shift to renewable technologies", said Graham Bishop, investment director at Heartwood Investment Management.


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