Crude Oil Futures Settle Flat

Crude oil prices retreated after early gains on Thursday as concerns about outlook for energy demand continued to weigh.

The early uptick was on hopes the U.S. oil producers will scale down production in coming months following inventories surging the most on record.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended flat at $19.87 a barrel, after moving between $19.55 and $20.53.

Brent crude advanced $0.13, or nearly 0.5%, to $27.82 a barrel.

On Wednesday, WTI crude futures ended down $0.24, or 1.2%, at $19.87 a barrel.

A report from the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday showed oil inventories in the U.S. rose by 19.2 million barrels in the week ended April 10. The report also showed large U.S. refined fuels stock builds despite refiners operating at 69 percent of capacity nationwide, the lowest since September 2008.

The figures followed a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) that forecast a 29 million barrel per day (bpd) dive in April oil demand to a level last seen in 1995.

“There is no feasible agreement that could cut supply by enough to offset such near-term demand losses,” the IEA said in its closely-watched monthly report.

Meanwhile, the OPEC said in a monthly report that it now expects global demand to contract by 6.9 million barrels per day in 2020, and noted the reduction may not be the last. Last month, OPEC projected a small increase in demand of 60,000 bpd.

Over the last weekend, the OPEC+ agreed to reduce output by 9.7 million barrels per day in May and June.

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