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Oil prices rise as OPEC seen continuing supply cuts through 2018

March 29, 2018/ 07:20

Singapore. Oil prices rose on Thursday as the producer cartel OPEC and other suppliers look set to continue withholding output for the rest of the year and potentially into 2019.

U.S. WTI crude futures CLc1 were at $64.57 a barrel at 0242 GMT, up 19 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their previous settlement.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $69.72 per barrel, up 19 cents, or 0.3 percent.

The Middle East-dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia in 2017 started cutting output in order to rein in oversupply and prop up the market, informs Reuters.

Brent, off which OPEC prices most its crude exports, has risen by around a quarter since then, which has lead to speculation that the restraints on production may be lifted.

But sources at OPEC told Reuters this week that the group and its allies were set to keep their deal on cutting production for the rest of 2018.

“OPEC is in no rush to re-evaluate whether or not it should change the current production caps at the June meeting and may wait till later this year,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader.

Despite this, Brent remained below $70 and WTI under $65 per barrel, weighed by rising crude inventories and production in the United States.

Commercial U.S. crude inventories rose by 1.6 million barrels in the last week C-STK-T-EIA to 429.95 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.

U.S. crude oil production hit a fresh record, at 10.43 million barrels per day (bpd) C-OUT-T-EIA. That puts the United States ahead in output of top exporter Saudi Arabia. Only Russia pumps out more, at 11 million bpd.

In China, Shanghai crude oil futures ISCc1 opened Thursday’s morning session down nearly 2 percent, pushing the new market to parity with U.S. prices.

That implies a disconnect between financial and physical crude markets, as U.S. crude has been exported to China profitably for the last two years.

The latest drop takes the fall since the contract’s launch on Monday to 10 percent.

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