US crude ekes out another 17-month closing high, settles up 15 cents at $52.98 after producers confirm output cuts

Oil prices surge on output freeze

Oil traded roughly flat on Tuesday, supported by strong demand in Asia and supply cuts by Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar as part of production curbs organized by OPEC and other exporters.

However, the market faced pressure as investors closed positions to take profits on strong gains the day before.

Traders said there was significant profit-taking after oil shot to mid-2015 highs earlier this week, boosted by the deal reached by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other exporters to cut output by a combined 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd).

International Brent was down 1 cent at $55.68 by 2:49 p.m. ET (1940 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled up 15 cents $52.98.

Oil's rise a major head fake: Pro

Analysts said oil markets were still broadly supported by the arrangement to crimp output. In addition, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday that it had raised its forecsat for global oil consumption, which will also help reduce the overhang of supply.

In its monthly oil market report, the IEA said revisions to its estimate of Chinese and Russian consumption had prompted it to raise its forecast for global oil market demand growth this year by 120,000 barrels per day to growth of 1.4 million bpd.

However, analysts said prices will turn fast if the market believed compliance was lacking.

"The following three to six months will provide us with an answer as to whether the foundation is strong enough to hold the building or will it collapse like a house of cards," PVM analysts wrote.

In a sign that producers are acting on their plans to cut output, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) told customers it would reduce Murban and Upper Zakum crude supplies by 5 percent and Das crude exports by 3 percent.

Oil producers are pragmatic: Expert

Kuwait's Petroleum Corporation (KPC) did similar, notifying its customers of a cut in their contractual crude oil supplies for January.

Meanwhile, China's November crude output fell 9 percent on a year earlier to 3.915 million bpd , data showed on Tuesday, but recovered from October's 3.78 million bpd, which was the lowest in more than seven years.

That came as China's refinery throughput hit a daily record in November of 11.14 million bpd, up 3.4 percent year-on-year.

"Declines in Chinese ... crude oil output and expansion of its strategic crude reserves underpin our view for China's crude oil imports to strengthen over the coming quarters," said BMI Research.

In India, Asia's No.2 oil consumer behind China, fuel demand rose 12.1 percent in November compared with the same month last year, hitting 16.64 million tonnes (4.07 million bpd).