Oil prices edged up on Monday, with Brent drifting near $70 a barrel, propped up by output cuts from major producers and optimism about global economic and fuel demand recovery in the second half of the year.
Brent crude futures for May gained 23 cents, or 0.3%, to $69.45 a barrel by 0102 GMT.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April was at $65.90 a barrel, up 29 cents, or 0.4%.
Oil Supply in the U.S
The United States overtook Saudi Arabia as India’s second-biggest oil supplier last month, as refiners boosted cheaper U.S. crude purchases to record levels and offset supply cuts from the Petroleum Organization Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+).
India’s imports from Saudi Arabia rose 48% to a record 545,300 barrels per day (BPD) in February from the prior month, accounting for 14% of India’s overall imports last month.
In contrast, February imports from Saudi Arabia fell by 42% from the previous month to a decade-low of 445,200 BPD. Saudi Arabia, which has consistently been one of India’s top two suppliers, slipped to No. 4 for the first time since at least January 2006.
Iraq continued to be the top oil seller to India despite a 23% decline in purchases to a five-month low of 867,500 BPD.
The supply cuts come as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, decided earlier this month to extend most of its supply cuts into April.
Investors expect China to release positive economic data on Monday, supporting forecasts of stronger growth at the world’s second-largest oil consumer.
“China data due today could be highly influential,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, wrote.