Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices were nearly flat early Thursday as the market waited to see the latest official stock inventories data later in the day, as well as the impact of voluntary and involuntary production cuts, analysts said.
West Texas Intermediate front-month crude futures rose 0.1 percent to $57.20 per barrel, as of 8:04 a.m. EST while Brent front-month futures fell 1 percent to $67.04 per barrel.
There are "favorable macro conditions for price support (i.e. OPEC production cuts, and sanctions against Venezuela, Iran and lower than average Libyan crude production). However, tepid global growth sentiment along with the U.S- China trade feud has kept prices under check," independent analyst Lakshan de Silva told UPI.
Besides Venezuela disruption concerns, crude oil is seeing some significant supply reductions.
"OPEC cuts were over 80 percent effective in January, with both Russia and Saudi Arabia taking the lead. Nigeria, which saw its output rising, has announced cuts to keep production levels from growing," he added.
As for the weekly American Petroleum Institute inventory report issued Wednesday, it showed a marginal rise.
"API data showed U.S. crude rising marginally by 1.26 million barrels in the prior week. EIA data will be looked at closely, and a fall in inventory would provide further price support," de Silva said.
The Energy Information Administration will release its latest report on oil inventories at 11:00 a.m. EST.
"Apart from the continued support from hopes of reduced trade tensions, together with ongoing voluntary and involuntary production cuts from the Opec+ group, the American Petroleum Institute has also been lending some support," Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, said separately.
The API weekly stock report released Wednesday "showed a smaller-than-expected rise in U.S. stockpiles of crude oil as well as a bigger drop in products," Hansen added.
Brent crude oil closed Wednesday at $67.08 per barrel, extending a rally that started Feb. 12 after prices had closed at $61.51 per barrel on February 11. Brent prices are currently are its highest levels for the year, which compares with a high in 2018 of over $86 per barrel on Oct. 3.
WTI also rallied since closing at $52.41 per barrel on February 11. WTI futures reached a high in 2018 of over $76 per barrel on October 3.