SINGAPORE, March 3 U.S. crude oil rose on Friday
as the market took a breather after three days of decline, but
prices are being anchored by Russia's output remaining unchanged
in February, indicating weak compliance on a global deal to cut
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures gained 10
cents, or 0.2 percent, to $52.71 a barrel by 0039 GMT after
dropping to its lowest since Feb. 9 in the last session. The
benchmark Brent crude futures were yet to start trading
after falling 2.3 percent on Thursday.
Russia's February oil output was unchanged from January at
11.11 million barrels per day (bpd), energy ministry data
showed, with cuts remaining at 100,000 bpd or just a third of
the levels pledged by Moscow under the agreement with the
Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
There was additional pressure from rising dollar.
"Crude oil fell to a three-week low as the stronger U.S.
dollar combined with concerns about rising U.S. crude oil
inventories to reduce investor appetite," ANZ said in a note.
The dollar rose to a seven week high against a basket of
currencies on Thursday, after hawkish comments by a Federal
Reserve official late on Wednesday encouraged investors to
expect a near-term interest rate hike.
Official data showed crude inventories in the United States,
the world's biggest oil consumer, rose for an eighth straight
week to a record 520.2 million barrels last week.
Oil prices, however, have been unusually stable since
producers agreed in November to reduce the oversupply that has
weighed on prices for more than two years, with both Brent and
U.S. crude locked in $5 ranges.
Even as oil production rises in the United States, OPEC has
boosted already strong compliance with the group's six-month
deal that began in January to around 94 percent, after it cut
output for a second month in February, a Reuters survey found.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said it was too
early to say if the deal to reduce oil production would be
extended beyond the end of June. OPEC, Russia and others are due
to agree on output policy in the next three months.
Demand for gasoline in the United States, which accounts for
a tenth of global oil consumption, is expected to peak next year
as engines become more efficient, WoodMackenzie analysts said.
(Reporting by Naveen Thukral; Editing by Michael Perry)