US Crude oil hits top since 2014

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Singapore (Reuters): U.S.crude oil prices hit their highest since 2014 on Wednesday, supported by OPEC-led production cuts and expectations U.S. crude inventories fell for an eighth week.

A broad global market rally, including stocks, has also been fuelling investment into crude oil futures.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were at $63.44 a barrel, 48 cents, or 0.8 percent, above their last settlement at 0752 GMT. Earlier prices rose to as much as $63.53, the highest since Dec. 9, 2014.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $69.11 a barrel, 29 cents, or 0.4 percent, above their last close. Brent touched $69.29 in late Tuesday trading, the most since May 2015. Most market participants see the price high that day as an outlier and are measuring the gain as the most since Dec. 5, 2014, when prices rose to as high as $69.82.

William O‘Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia’s Rivkin Securities said that the extension of the OPEC agreement and declining inventories are all helping to drive the price higher.

In an effort to prop up prices, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) together with Russia and a group of other producers last November extended an output cut deal that was due to expire in March this year to cover all of 2018.

The cuts, which have mostly targeted Europe and North America, were aimed at reducing a global supply overhang that had dogged oil markets since 2014.

The American Petroleum Institute said late on Tuesday that crude inventories fell by 11.2 million barrels in the week to Jan. 5, to 416.6 million barrels.

This came as the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) raised its 2018 world oil demand growth forecast by 100,000 barrels per day from its previous estimate.

Official EIA stocks data is due at 1530 GMT on Wednesday.

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