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Oil Prices Are Diverging Amid Indications Of A Significant Drawdown In U.S. Inventories

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Industry data has shown a significant and unexpected decrease in US inventories, while OPEC maintained its forecasts for strong demand growth in the coming years. However, despite this, crude oil prices remained firmly within a trading range of $75 to $85 per barrel, amid mixed signals on supply and demand. Economic weakness in China, the largest oil importer, continued to be a major point of contention in oil markets.

The strength of the dollar also impacted crude oil following stronger-than-expected US inflation data. However, ongoing disruptions in the Middle East kept the risks of potential supply shocks alive.

Talks on a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas collapsed, while Houthi forces continued to attack ships in the Red Sea. Additionally, Ukrainian drone strikes on a major Russian refinery also raised concerns about tightening global fuel markets. The attack came just weeks after Russia suspended all fuel exports to stabilize domestic fuel markets ahead of the upcoming presidential elections.

OPEC recently stated it would maintain its current pace of production cuts until the end of June, which, coupled with potential supply disruptions in the Middle East, is expected to tighten oil markets by mid-year. Apart from OPEC, the International Energy Agency is also set to release its monthly report this week.

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