Oil prices hit over $73 on Trump's Russian Federation warning

Oil steadies near 2014 highs, as global tensions linger

Oil prices hit over $73 on Trump's Russian Federation warning

However, soaring USA crude production, which has increased by a quarter since mid-2016 to 10.46 million barrels per day (bpd), is undermining OPEC's efforts to tighten the oversupply and prop up prices.

Oil prices edged off highs last reached in late 2014 due to rising USA stocks but remained well supported by mounting geopolitical tension in the Middle East, shrinking global oil inventories and expectations of a supply cut extension by OPEC.

Oil prices flared on Wednesday to a six-year high of $73 a barrel, especially after tensions rose between the USA and Russian Federation over the Syrian crisis. US crude oil inventories rose by 3.3 million barrels to 428.64 million barrels.

The prices last Friday suffered their worst weekly decline in two months after they followed plummeting equity markets amid growing fears of a trade war between the USA and China, the world's two largest economies. Around two-thirds of the world's oil reserves are in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil production C-OUT-T-EIA last week hit a fresh record of 10.53 million barrels per day (bpd), up by a quarter since mid-2016.

OPEC is cutting output by even more than it promised and the restraint is reducing oil stocks globally, a trend most visible in the US, the world's largest and most transparent oil market.

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Concerns about a trade war between the USA and China also eased some more after President Donald Trump struck a more conciliatory tone, saying on Twitter on Tuesday that he will "make great progress together" with China's president, Xi Jinping.

Though Syria is not a significant oil producer itself, the wider Middle East is the world's most important crude exporter and tension in the region tends to put oil markets on edge. "But we also had Saudi Arabia shooting down missiles last night", said George Wilkes, an analyst at Sucden in London.

U.S. crude inventories rose by 3.3 million barrels in the week to April 6, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Oil prices jumped to their highest point in three years yesterday, amid fears of possible Western military involvement in the Syrian conflict, before edging slightly down earlier today. Analysts anticipate a small build in crude stocks and a reduction in products inventories.

Oil market observers are looking ahead to monthly reports from OPEC and the International Energy Agency, due Thursday and Friday, respectively, with an eye to potential revisions on the global oil demand.

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