Oil prices fell on Thursday after USA crude inventories rose and the country's production held at record levels, but OPEC-led supply cuts and Washington's sanctions against Venezuela supported markets.
Venezuela's opposition is opening a US fund to receive the proceeds of oil sales, a key measure to secure revenue for its effort to dislodge Maduro, an opposition lawmaker said on Wednesday.
The oil price came under pressure earlier in the day following weekly data from the US Energy Information Administration on Wednesday that showed an unwelcome increase in stocks of crude oil.
Benchmark Brent crude had slipped 62 cents to $61.36 a barrel by 1000 GMT, after rallying about 15 percent in January.
Earlier, oil price came under pressure following weekly data showing rise in U.S. stocks.
Still, some analysts were relieved that USA crude oil inventories only rose by 1.3 million barrels in the week to February 1, according to the EIA, compared with expectations for an increase of 2.2 million barrels.
The European Union is considering imposing more sanctions on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro but has not discussed an oil embargo, Malta's foreign minister said on Monday. "Additionally, the builds in crude (+1.3 million barrels) and gasoline stocks (+0.5 million barrels) were less than anticipated".
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Global economic worries have weighed on market sentiment in recent days, offsetting support from signs that global supplies are tightening.
A rebound from late December lows seemed to stall amid worries that a trade war between the US and China would continue, weighing on demand.
However, a stronger United States dollar limited gains on Wednesday.
Supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russian Federation, have been supporting prices.
The oil price is showing a 20 percent gain so far this year. Production last month declined to 11.38 million barrels per day (bpd), but that was only down by 35,000 bpd from its October 2018 level that is the baseline for the pact. A week earlier, inventories recorded a 1.1-million-barrel decline and production averaged 5 million bpd.
"The global oil supply/demand balance could shift from a current significant surplus to zero at the end of the year", Jean-Pierre Durante, an analyst at Pictet Wealth Management, wrote in a report, if producers comply with the decision and extend it until December.
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