Oil prices were down on Thursday with another weekly increase in the US’ crude inventories, as the market awaits the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) technical meeting later Thursday. 

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $40.65 per barrel at 0636 GMT for a 0.15% decline after it closed Wednesday at $40.71 a barrel with a daily loss of 0.61%.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $37.80 a barrel at the same time for a 0.42% loss after ending Wednesday at $37.96 per barrel with a 1.1% daily decline.

US commercial crude oil inventories rose by 1.2 million barrels for the week ending June 12, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) data showed late Wednesday. The market expectation was a decline of 152,000 barrels.

Rising crude stocks and lack of available capacity for storage continue to keep downward pressure on prices.

The global oil market will focus Thursday on OPEC’s 19th Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) to be held via videoconference. The committee closely monitors market conditions, member countries’ oil output compliance and conformity levels.

OPEC and non-OPEC countries agreed on June 6 to extend their oil production cut agreement by curbing their total output by 9.7 million barrels per day from the end of June through July 31.

Four members of the OPEC+ group, Iraq, Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Angola, failed in May to cut output in line with their respective required levels but produced more than their quotas. They are now requested to curb their output in July, August and September.

The JMMC, which will hold monthly meetings from now on, will closely watch how much crude each OPEC+ member produces, and make recommendations to the group accordingly.

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