Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Oil prices rise on expectation of extended crude supply cut

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers originally agreed to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day in the first half of 2017, with a possible six-month extension, in a bid to shore up prices.

Oil prices are holding near unchanged Tuesday with concerns about strong imports to the USA erasing earlier gains tied to optimism about extended production cuts from the world's biggest exporters.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at US$48.98 a barrel, up 13 cents, or 0.3% from their last settlement.

Oil prices jumped 2 per cent yesterday after the energy ministers of the world's two biggest producers, Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation, jointly said that a crude production cut needed to be extended from the middle of this year till March 2018. An extension to March next year would have to be agreed by all the participants in the deal.

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The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was around $52 per barrel in early Tuesday trading, up more than 10 percent from last week.

"Rebalancing is essentially here and, in the short term at least, is accelerating", the International Energy Agency said in its monthly report on Tuesday. They have pushed oil prices to just shy of $50 a barrel.

To be sure, EIA believes supply and demand have basically balanced following a protracted period of global oversupply that sent oil prices to 12-year lows below $30 a barrel last year.

"Our goal is to balance the market and to remove the surplus (from stocks)", Novak told reporters in St Petersburg.

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Crude futures were building on their overnight gains Tuesday morning in Asia, amid expectations that USA data this week will show draws in crude and refined product inventories for the week ended May 12.

Later Tuesday, investors will be watching for data from the American Petroleum Institute, an industry group that forecasts USA crude production and stocks.

Oil has gained support from the deal but inventories remain high and rising output from other producers, including the United States, is keeping prices below the $60 that top exporter Saudi Arabia would like. Production fell 0.1% month-over-month and 1.1% year-over-year.

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