May 30 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices moved out of a steady decline early Wednesday on signs of lower U.S. supplies and Chinese growth, but U.S. GDP could change the picture.
The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, shed nearly $5 per barrel since Russia joined the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to signal more production in the second half of the year. Greater production from OPEC and Russia is meant to compensate for the potential loss of Iranian barrels and steady declines in production from Venezuela.
Brent hit $80 per barrel earlier this month, a point that sparked some concerns about the potential impact for the global economy.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported Wednesday its estimate for annual growth in gross domestic product in the first quarter was 2.2 percent, compared with 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter. The latest estimate is 0.1 percent lower than the previous report, which the department attributed to a decline in private inventory investment and residential fixed investment.
Nevertheless, there were indications that demand in the U.S. economy accelerated in the week before the long Memorial Day holiday weekend. Commodity pricing group S&P Global Platts reported late Tuesday it was expecting to see gasoline inventories decline 1.5 million barrels for last week. Crude oil stocks are expected to fall 600,000 barrels.
The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was up 1.05 percent as of 9:15 a.m. EDT to $76.28 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for the price of oil, was up 0.54 percent to $67.09 per barrel.
Platts reported the market is about 0.15 percent above the five-year average for crude oil inventories, a sign the overhang that pushed oil prices below $30 per barrel in early 2016 is mostly gone.
The International Monetary Fund, meanwhile, published its latest sentiment about growth in the Chinese economy, the second-largest in the world, behind the United States. IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton said monetary planners in Beijing were doing well in pursuing qualitative growth.
"Economic growth accelerated in 2017 for the first time since 2010, driven by a cyclical rebound in global trade," he said in a statement. "Staff project full-year 2018 growth at 6.6 percent and to moderate gradually to about 5.5 percent by 2023."