OPEC continued to reduce production in April, but output from top exporter Saudi Arabia ticked up last month.
In its monthly report Thursday, the producer group raised its forecast for oil supply growth from nonmembers in 2017 but kept its outlook for global crude demand unchanged.
Saudi crude oil production rose by nearly 50,000 barrels per day last month, according to figures from the kingdom and secondary sources. OPEC took about 18,000 bpd off the market in April, according to secondary sources listed in the OPEC report.
Saudi Arabia is still pumping well below the level it agreed to in November, when OPEC agreed to reduce its combined oil output by 1.2 million bpd in order to shrink huge global stockpiles and balance an oversupplied market.
But the market closely watches Riyadh’s production because it has delivered the lion’s share of OPEC’s cuts during the first four months of the six-month deal. Oil prices pared gains immediately after OPEC released the report but later regained some ground.
Future prices got support this week after Saudi Arabia announced it had cut crude exports to the key Asian market. Data from tanker tracking firm ClipperData shows Saudi loadings for export fell by 670,000 barrels a day in April from October, the level against which OPEC measures compliance to the output cut deal.