Brent crude, the global benchmark, had slipped 7 cents to $69.31 by 0943 GMT. While soaring prices have prompted warnings - from Iran's oil minister to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. - of a fresh surge in USA production, ministers from the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Kuwait insist there's no need to change tack and the cartel will stick with its plan to restrain output for the rest of the year. The 14-member OPEC cartel has also boasted better adherence to output limits than in the past, according to analysts.
OPEC lowered its forecast for demand for its own crude this year to 33.09 million barrels a day from 33.15 million a day. Merrill also raised its outlook for USA crude to $60 a barrel from $52.
WTI Crude oil futures stayed supported amid record high equities and falling U.S. crude oil inventories. This would put the US on par with Saudi Arabia and Russia's output, Razaqzada said. The government releases its weekly report tomorrow. "Second, we continue to believe that OPEC's 5-year average inventory target is too aggressive".
This week, the API reported another, although smaller, build in gasoline inventories of 1.782 million barrels for the week ending January 12. Several oil ministers have said it's too early to discuss an exit strategy for the deal.More news: Karthik to replace injured Saha in 3rd Test against South Africa
In its monthly oil market report, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said there were "growing indications that the oil market is heading smoothly toward rebalancing".
Morgan Stanley equity analyst Martijn Rats said Monday that strong capital flows into the oil market will occasionally push Brent prices into the $70-$75 range.
Oil inventories have plunged in the past two months, helping drive oil prices higher. The roll yield is the profit traders can earn when they roll their investment in crude oil futures, which expire every month, into contracts that expire at a later date.
New York's NYMEХ (New York Merchantile Exchange) is a USA futures market founded in 1882. Commercial oil stocks in the OECD are continuing to rapidly decline, investment and confidence are coming back to the industry, and a spirit of collaboration, equity and transparency pervades OPEC's expanding relations with its non-OPEC producing partners.