By Sarah McFarlane
Oil prices steadied on Thursday, under pressure from rising U.S. crude inventories and record domestic output.
Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, fell 0.1% to $64.29 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.1% at $61.18 a barrel.
Prices dipped on Wednesday immediately after the U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed crude inventory rose 2.4 million barrels and production hit a record high in the week ended Friday, March 2.
"The high production level leaves no room to doubt the robustness of U.S. oil production, so the market response is understandable," said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank.
The EIA expects U.S. crude production to average a record 10.7 million barrels a day this year, rising to 11.3 million barrels in 2019.
The shale oil boom is responsible for much of the rise, with improvements in technology and efficiency, along with oil prices rising almost 20% in the past six months, prompting the increase.
Investors awaited clarity over U.S. President Donald Trump's plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum which are expected to be signed this week, concerned the move could trigger a trade war. Already several countries have suggested tariff actions in response.
"Fears of a global trade war continue to loom and affect the financial markets, spilling over to the oil market; weighing on prices," said consultancy Global Risk Management in a note.
Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock--the benchmark gasoline contract--fell 0.2% to $1.91 a gallon. ICE gasoil changed hands at $570.00 a metric ton, down $3.50 from the previous settlement.
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