UPDATE 10-Oil prices inch up on signs of tighter global supply


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    * Saudi Arabia oil exports fall to 7 mln bpd in Feb -JODI
    * U.S. inventories last week drop for first time in four
    * U.S. oil drillers cut rigs for first week in three -Baker
    * Dollar gains over euro after strong U.S. retail sales 
    * Interactive graphic on inventories https://tmsnrt.rs/2XfuQqn

 (Adds post-settlement trade for Brent, graphic)
    By Laila Kearney
    NEW YORK, April 18 (Reuters) - Oil futures edged up on
Thursday as a drop in crude exports from OPEC's de facto leader,
Saudi Arabia, and a draw in U.S. drilling rigs and oil
inventories supported prices.
    Brent crude futures  LCOc1  settled at $71.97 a barrel, up
35 cents from their last close and near Wednesday's five-month
high of $72.27. Brent saw a weekly gain of 0.6 percent, marking
the fourth consecutive weekly rise for the international
    In post-settlement trade, the contract added 4 cents to
$72.01 a barrel.
    U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures  CLc1 
settled at $64.00 a barrel, up 24.00 cents. U.S. futures gained
just under 0.2 percent for the week, their seventh weekly gain
in a row.
    Many financial markets will be closed on Friday for public
    Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports fell by 277,000 barrels to
just under 7 million bpd in February from the month before,
according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative
(JODI).  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL5N2203P2
    U.S. crude, gasoline and distillate inventories dropped this
week, with crude posting an unexpected drawdown, the first in
four weeks, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) data
showed on Wednesday.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N21Z0RE
    "I think it's pretty clear that tightening supplies and
receding fears of demand growth is a boost to the market to
these five month highs," said Gene McGillian, vice president of
market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.   
    U.S. energy companies this week cut the number of oil
drilling rigs for the first time in three weeks as production
growth forecasts from shale, the country's largest oil fields,
continue to shrink.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N21Y0ZW
    The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future output,
fell by eight in the week ending April 18, General Electric Co's
 GE.N  Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its weekly
report, which was released a day early because of the Good
Friday holiday.     
    Oil has been driven up this year by an agreement reached by
the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its
allies, including Russia, to limit their oil output by 1.2
million bpd.
    Global supply has been tightened further by U.S. sanctions
on OPEC members Venezuela and Iran. 
    Iran's crude exports have fallen in April to their lowest
daily level this year, tanker data showed and industry sources
said, suggesting a reduction in buyer interest ahead of expected
further pressure from Washington.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL5N21X4P4
    Strong U.S. retail sales data and earnings from industrial
companies put global slowdown fears, sparked by underwhelming
manufacturing surveys from Asia and Europe, on the back burner.
    Thursday's oil rally was kept in check, however, by a rise
in the U.S. dollar, which makes crude more expensive for global
    "A significant strengthening in the dollar, especially
against the Euro, tended to limit buying interest," Jim
Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a

CHART: Brent oil may fall to $70.32     urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N2200OV
CHART: U.S. oil may test support at $62.80     urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N2200RS
U.S. crude inventories, weekly changes since 2017    https://tmsnrt.rs/2XlX17b
U.S. Rig count png    https://tmsnrt.rs/2X8Myf7
 (Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in LONDON, Colin Packham
in SYDNEY, Jane Chung in SEOUL and Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo;
Editing by Sandra Maler and Joseph Radford)
 ((laila.kearney@thomsonreuters.com, (917) 809-0054))

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