Crude oil eases for second day on rising U.S. inventories

OPEC analysts said stronger seasonal demand should support crude oil heading into the summer months after prices slipped to a year-low below $50 a barrel last month, with traders concerned the group's attempts to tighten the market through a supply deal with non-members like Russian Federation were being overshadowed by the snap back of USA production.

United States oil imports from the kingdom declined 24 per cent in the week ended March 31, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 26 cents at $53.66 a barrel, on track for a seventh straight session of gains.

"We see the weekly inventory and USA production data being an important oil price driver but it conflicts with the OPEC signals", said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN AMRO Bank in Amsterdam.

Brent and WTI have rallied in recent sessions after Saudi Arabia was reported to be pushing fellow OPEC members and some rivals to prolong supply cuts beyond June.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for June delivery turned lower and traded up 14 cents, or 0.25%, to $56.01 by 10:41AM ET (14:41GMT), compared to $56.25 before the release.

OPEC data showed members of the group had cut March output beyond the level they had promised.

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Despite OPEC's cuts, oil producers around the world still put out 430,000 barrels a day more than global markets could absorb in the first quarter, according to the report.

According to state media in Russian Federation, the country's oil minister has upped the ante on how much the country will cut out of its production levels through June.

Even more important, late Tuesday afternoon Saudi Arabia told OPEC that it would like to see the production cut agreement extended for another six months.

In 2016, the United States was the world's largest net exporter of refined products, with a significant portion of crude oil input to US refiners supporting those exports. If confirmed by U.S. Energy Information Administration figures on Wednesday, oil could get another boost.

Analysts and traders said long-term fundamentals remained strong and more stockpile draw-downs are likely as refiners exit maintenance season.

But even as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries works to slow the onrush of oil, it expects increasing resistance from American shale producers and other non-OPEC countries. Total non-OPEC supply was forecast at 580,000 bpd, OPEC said.

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