March 29, 2018 / 7:35 AM / 7 months ago

UPDATE 7-Oil prices rise with Wall Street; U.S. crude discount widens

* OPEC, non-OPEC seen keeping oil cuts until end of 2018

* Rising U.S. crude inventories and output cap prices

* Shanghai crude futures down 10 pct since Monday’s launch (New throughout, updates prices, market activity and comments; new byline, changes dateline, previous LONDON)

By Ayenat Mersie

NEW YORK, March 29 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Thursday as the equities markets rallied and as market participants weighed a rise in U.S. crude inventories and production against continued OPEC supply curbs.

WTI’s discount to Brent WTCLc1-LCOc1 has grown to more than $5 a barrel, the biggest since January, making Brent-linked crudes less attractive to refiners than U.S. oil.

Prices for the more actively traded June Brent crude futures were up 32 cents at $69.05 by 11:52 a.m. EDT (1652 GMT), while the May contract expiring on Thursday was up 35 cents at $69.88.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 37 cents to $64.75.

Oil has risen about 4 percent since January, on track for the longest stretch of quarterly gains since late 2010.

“The equities market is rallying and that’s lending support to oil,” said Philip Streible, senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago. All three major U.S. stock indexes were positive on Thursday.

“The dollar is slightly in positive territory, but it’s not screaming like yesterday,” which is also supportive to crude prices, said Streible. The dollar against a basket of currencies was up about 0.04 percent, after gaining 0.8 percent Wednesday. A weaker greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for holders of other currencies.

Strong compliance on supply cuts from members of The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies like Russia have supported prices. OPEC sources said the group and its allies are likely to keep their deal on cutting output for the rest of 2018 when they meet in June.

But rising inventories and production in the United States have pressured crude. Commercial U.S. stocks rose 1.6 million barrels in the past week C-STK-T-EIA to 429.95 million barrels, while output hit a record 10.43 million barrels per day (bpd), the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.

“Right now, oil looks fragile,” said Petromatrix strategist Olivier Jakob.

“The price action last week was pretty clear. The objective on that move was to take out the highs of 2018, but that has not been done and the price action of the last three days has not been very convincing.”

This week marked the launch of the Shanghai crude oil futures contract, which has lost about 10 percent since opening on Monday.

On Thursday, Reuters reported that China was taking its first steps to pay for imported crude oil in yuan instead of the U.S. dollar. ($1 = 6.2856 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Additional reporting by Amanda Cooper and Alex Lawler in London and Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Editing by David Goodman and David Gregorio

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