Brent oil price hits highest level since 2014

Brent oil price hits highest level since 2014

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said it expected domestic crude oil production to rise by 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 11.44 million bpd next year, more than previously expected.

In its monthly short-term energy outlook, the agency forecast that USA crude oil output will rise by 750,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 11.44 million bpd next year.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 fell to $70.80 per barrel at 0702 GMT, down 23 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 gained 3.3 percent, or $2.09, to settle at $65.51 a barrel.

Oil markets stabilised on Monday after slumping about 2% last Friday on the concern over an intensifying trade dispute between the U.S. and China, as well as increased U.S. drilling activity.

Before the rebound late on Wednesday, after the release of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) inventory data, WTI and Brent had hit two-week lows after China proposed a broad range of tariffs on US exports, feeding fears of a trade war.

Concerns of a prolonged trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies and uncertainty over the supply and demand balance of global oil markets have resulted in volatile yet range-bound recent trading.

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"There are headlines of a US carrier group heading to the Middle East, the Saudis are looking for $80 Brent crude, and this is ahead of API inventories", said Roberto Friedlander, head of energy trading at Seaport Global Securities.

There are also concerns that the United States could renew sanctions against Iran, a major Middle East oil producer.

Chinese and USA officials have also softened their rhetoric over their trade spat, easing worries over the potential for a slowdown in demand for oil.

"In addition to the risk of protectionism, there has been a significant change in the Trump administration that has raised risks of potential sanctions on key oil exporting countries including Iran, Venezuela and Russian Federation", U.S. bank JPMorgan said.

However, soaring U.S. crude production, which has jumped by a quarter since mid-2016, threatens to undermine Opec's efforts.

The U.S. late a year ago overtook Saudi Arabia as the world's second-biggest crude producer. Analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expect the agency to report a weekly rise of 100,000 barrels in crude stockpiles, along with declines of 2 million barrels in gasoline and 1.2 million barrels in distillate supplies.

Oil markets have been supported by healthy demand and supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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