Investing.com – Crude oil prices settled higher as an upbeat OPEC monthly report underlying continued global oil demand growth lifted investor sentiment.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for March delivery rose 0.15% to settle at $59.29 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent gained 0.08% to trade at $62.84 a barrel.
OPEC said it expects global oil demand growth to rise by 1.59 million barrels a day (bpd), up 60,000 bpd from December’s forecast. The uptick in the oil cartel’s outlook for global oil demand growth reflected a positive economic outlook.
Offsetting that was an upward revision to non-OPEC output expected to rise to a total of 59.26 million bpd this year, 320,000 bpd higher than its last forecast.
The US makes up more than half the non-OPEC upward revision, reaffirming recent data from the EIA, which showed US crude oil output continued to rise above 10 million bpd last week.
Data from Baker Hughes showing oil rigs operating in the US rose to a more than one year high also pointed to a possible ramp up in domestic oil production as US shale producers take advantage of higher crude oil prices.
Yet some OPEC members remained adamant that rising shale production wouldn’t prove to be a “huge distorter” of the market.
“Shale is coming and the expectation is that it will come stronger than in 2017, and this is something that we have to watch,” said United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei, currently the president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. “But considering all factors, I don’t think it will be a huge distorter of the market.”
Some investors appeared to be position for continued upside in oil prices as Commodity Futures Trading Commission data showed speculative net long position in crude oil rose by nearly 5,000 contracts to a net long 739,100 contracts, according to the most recent Commitment of Traders (COT) report.
Investors await a fresh batch of weekly inventory data this week expected to show crude supplies rose for the third straight week.
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