U.S. oil prices fell on Wednesday after a reported sharp drop in U.S. crude stocks and OPEC member Iraq said the producer group would discuss deepening output cuts amid ongoing demand concerns.
Oil prices have risen more than 7% this month, supported by declines in global inventories and signs of an easing in trade tensions between the United States and China, the world's two largest economies and energy consumers.
Prices rose this week after Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's new energy minister, said oil policy would not change and said an OPEC deal with Russia and other producers to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) would be maintained.
Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban said the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would discuss whether to deepen cuts, when ministers meet on Thursday. He said OPEC had discussed cuts of 1.6 million to 1.8 million bpd, when considering output curbs last year.
Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the alliance of OPEC and other producers, known as OPEC+, would discuss global oil demand, but added that there were no fresh proposals to change production cut volumes.
Crude inventories fell by 6.9 million barrels from the previous week, according to the Energy Information Administration. This is compared with analysts' expectations for an decrease of 2.7 million barrels.
OPEC cut its forecast on Wednesday for growth in world oil demand in 2020 by 60,000 bpd to 1.08 million bpd, due to an economic slowdown. It indicated the market would be in surplus.
Growing signs of slowdown were flagged by oil traders and executives attending industry gatherings in Singapore and Abu Dhabi this week.
OPEC has pointed to rising global production next year, particularly in U.S. shale fields, while data from the American Petroleum Institute (API) showed U.S. crude stocks fell last week by 7.2 million barrels, more than twice the amount analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast.
"The API report is quite constructive for the oil market as it points to a tightening domestic oil market in the face of flat production and stronger demand," Dutch bank ING said.