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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said us -imposed oil sanctions are putting pressure on the embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who the U.S.is trying to oust.

Supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russian Federation, have been supporting prices.

The oil price came under pressure earlier in the day following weekly data from the US Energy Information Administration on Wednesday that showed an unwelcome increase in stocks of crude oil.

Brent crude oil futures were last down 50 cents, or 0.8, at $62.19 a barrel by 1310 GMT.

"The price has yet to react in any noticeable way", Fritsch said of the sanctions.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was down 13 cents at $53.53.

"Fresh U.S. sanctions on the country could see 0.5-1 percent of global supply curtailed", said Vivek Dhar, mining and energy analyst, Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

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Meanwhile, U.S. sanctions against Venezuela's oil industry are expected to freeze sales proceeds of Venezuelan crude exports to the United States.

The sanctions will sharply limit oil transactions between Venezuela and other countries and are similar to those imposed on Iran previous year, experts said after examining details posted by the Treasury Department. "Additionally, the builds in crude (+1.3 million barrels) and gasoline stocks (+0.5 million barrels) were less than anticipated".

Venezuela, like fellow OPEC members Iran and Libya, was exempt from production curbs under the OPEC+ deal on expectations that its output faced involuntary downward pressure in 2019. That's down from 10.643 million bpd in December, representing a cut that was 70,000 bpd deeper than targeted under the OPEC-led pact to balance the market and support prices. US crude output stayed at a record-high 11.9 million barrels a day.

Global economic worries have weighed on market sentiment in recent days, offsetting support from signs that global supplies are tightening.

WTI prices were $46.54 per barrel at the start of the year, rising to current levels in part on geopolitical concerns about Venezuela, as well as on the possibility of an economic slowdown in China. Oil fell on Tuesday after a survey showed euro zone business expansion almost stalled in January.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week said he would meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in the coming weeks to try to settle the dispute.

Maduro, who retains control over the state, denounces Guaido as a US puppet who is seeking to foment a coup against him.


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