Oil prices soar amid signs of market rebalancing

Suhail Al Mazrouei is UAE Minister of Energy

Brent crude futures settled at $52.52 a barrel, up 2 per cent, or $1.03 a barrel, after reaching a two-month high of $52.68 a barrel earlier in the day.

Oil prices held just below eight-week highs on Thursday, supported by a steeper-than-expected decline in US crude inventories that boosted expectations of a shift to a more balanced market.

According to the source, the price for September Futures WTI oil increased by 1,09%, which is $47,88 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). Wednesday's USA stockpile report marked an inflection point because inventories fell below year-ago levels, she said. Physical markets have firmed due in large part to very strong refining margins.

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Oil prices had rallied over 8 percent this week, the best weekly gain this year.

Kuwait has complied at an average rate of 98% with its pledged reduction of 131,000 barrels a day, while the UAE has implemented only 54% of its promised 139,000 barrel-a-day cut on average, the International Energy Agency said in its latest oil report.

ClipperData LLC, the global leader in real-time tracking of crude oil and petroleum product flows, today announced a no-cost trial of its Global Crude Oil Report to help serious market participants assess crude oil supplies at what could turn out to be a turning point for the oil market.

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USA crude and gasoline inventories fell much more steeply than expected in the latest week, while US refineries processed an average of nearly 17.3 million barrels of crude per day last week, up 620,000 bpd from the same week in 2016. Gasoline stocks fell by 1 million barrels, compared with analyst expectations for a 614,000-barrel drop.

However, some analysts' assessments of the oil market remained bearish.

Investors were eyeing an update on the US rig count expected later on Friday to assess any signs of a slowing down in drilling activity.

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