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Oil steady amid tightening supply, capped by economic slowdown

Oil prices moved little on Wednesday, supported by supply cuts by producer group OPEC and U.S. sanctions against oil exporters Iran and Venezuela, but pressured by expectations that an economic slowdown could soon dent fuel consumption. International benchmark Brent futures were at $70.59 per barrel at 0409 GMT, down 2 cents from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $64.09 per barrel, up 9 cents from their last settlement.
Both benchmarks hit five-month highs on Tuesday, before easing on global growth worries. Overall, oil markets have tightened this year because of U.S. sanctions on oil exporters Iran and Venezuela, as well as supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and some non-affiliated producers including Russia, a group known as OPEC+.
As a result, Brent and WTI crude oil futures have risen by around 30 percent and 40 percent respectively since the start of the year. “The global oil market is clearly moving back towards balance thanks to OPEC+ production cuts. OPEC production has fallen 1.98 million barrels per day (bpd) from October levels,” ING bank said in a note.
The Dutch bank said the reduction was not only down to voluntary supply cuts, which the group started this year to prop up prices, but also sanctions by the United States.