Oil Markets Mixed On Lower Canadian Flows, Firmer Dollar

US WTI crude for March delivery was up 73 cents or 1.2% at $62.41 a barrel by 11.30am after earlier touching its highest since 7 February

Brent crude was up 15 cents, or 0.2 per cent, at $64.99 after rising more than 3 per cent last week.

Meanwhile, worldwide favorite Brent crude eased on the back of weakness in Asian stocks and a stronger U.S. Dollar.

"The drawdown in inventory has been supportive for WTI, with the Brent-WTI spread narrowing from nearly US$7 per barrel at the end of December to around US$3.20 a barrel now".

Oil products exports fell to 1.506 million in December while domestic demand rose to 2.294 million bpd.

Crude prices closed with a one-week gain on Friday, after losing over 12 percent in the first weeks of the month due to fears that growing United States production will exceed demand as expected by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC oil producers, including Russian Federation, will discuss extending their cooperation for many more years when they meet in June as they seek to avoid major market shocks, United Arab Emirates' energy minister and OPEC President Suhail al-Mazroui told Reuters.

"Opec and Russian Federation continue to support the production cuts that are due to expire at the end of this year, and they assure markets that there will be an orderly ramp up of production once the cuts expire", said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia's Rivkin Securities.

Just as the production cuts, aided by a growing global economy, have helped push up oil prices, the International Energy Agency has warned of "explosive" USA output growth this year. This made WTI futures extend their gains well above $60 per barrel levels and the counter is now up 1.28% at $62.35 per barrel. U.S. gold futures were down 0.1pc at $1,357.2 per ounce on Thursday. But expectations that the Fed will raise interest rates to fight inflation make gold less attractive since it is not interest-yielding.

The most active gold futures contract on the Comex market in NY touched a high of $1,358.60 an ounce in midday trade, up more than 2pc or almost $30 an ounce compared to Tuesday's settlement after inflation data in the U.S. came in higher than expectations. "Ahead of us this year is the balance of supply and demand". The yield on U.S. benchmark 10 year Treasury rose to a four year high of 2.9pc.

Selling pressure could resume if hedge fund investors decide to continue liquidating their previously created long positions.

Retail and institutional investment in gold-backed exchange traded funds (ETFs) continues to grow.

Non-OPEC stocks outside North America are also believed to decline this year and the next. Platinum was up 0.2pc at $998.74, after earlier hitting $1,002.40.

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