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Crude oil futures edge higher on US stock draw, upbeat global demand forecasts

Singapore — 0240 GMT: Crude oil futures inched higher in mid-morning trade in Asia May 12 after the American Petroleum Institute reported a large draw in US crude inventories, with positive demand outlooks from the OPEC and the Energy Information Administration providing further tailwind.

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At 10:40 am Singapore time (0240 GMT), the ICE Brent July contract was up 11 cents/b (0.16%) from the May 11 settle at $68.66/b, while the June NYMEX light sweet crude contract was up 13 cents/b (0.20%) at $65.41/b.

The API late May 11 reported a 2.5 million-barrel draw in US crude inventories for the week ended May 7, and an 870,000-barrel draw in US distillate inventories.

However gains in oil prices in the wake of the report were tempered by a 5.6 million-barrel surge in US gasoline inventories.

At 10:40 am, the NYMEX June RBOB contract was trading 0.29 cents/gal (0.14%) lower than the May 11 settle at $2.1370/gal and the NYMEX NY Harbor June ULSD contract was up 0.13 cents/gal (0.06%) at $2.0430/gal.

Meanwhile, OPEC in a monthly oil market report released May 11 kept its global oil demand outlook for 2021 unchanged at 96.46 million b/d, up 5.95 million b/d from 2020, adding that most of the oil demand growth expected this year will occur in H2.

"Positive transportation fuel data from the US, and acceleration in vaccination programs in many regions, provide further optimism in H2 2021," OPEC said in the report. "The assumed return to some degree of normality and improved mobility is also expected to positively affect regions such as the Middle East and Other Asia in H2 2021."

OPEC also downgraded its projection of non-OPEC liquids supply by 230,000 b/d, citing the extensive US well shut-ins during February's deep freeze.

As a result, the organization said that the call on its crude -- the volume needed from the organization to balance global demand and supply -- will rise to 27.65 million b/d in 2021. For reference, the group produced 25.08 million b/d of crude in April.

Also on May 11, the EIA kept its 2021 oil demand forecast largely unchanged from the previous month at 97.7 million b/d, and raised its 2022 global demand outlook by 100,000 b/d to 101.4 million b/d.

However, the EIA noted that the pandemic resurgence in Asia has increased downside risk for oil demand and cut its demand outlook for India by 300,000 b/d for the second quarter, citing the country's debilitating second wave.