Oil prices rise ahead of OPEC+ meeting on output cuts

LONDON: Oil prices rose on Tuesday to near three-month highs on expectations that major producers will agree to extend output cuts during a video conference likely to be held this week.

Benchmark Brent crude rose 2.1pc, or 79 cents, to $39.11 a barrel as of 1415 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude climbed 1.8pc, or 65 cents, to $36.09 a barrel.

Brent has doubled in the past six weeks helped by supply cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and others including Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+.

But oil prices are still 40pc down this year.

OPEC+ producers are considering extending their production cuts of 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd), equivalent to about 10pc of global production, into July or August, at an online meeting expected to be held on June 4.

“Most likely, OPEC+ could extend current cuts until Sept. 1, with a meeting set before then to decide on next steps,” said Citi’s head of commodities research Edward Morse.

Under the original OPEC+ plan, the cuts were due to run through May and June, scaling back to a reduction of 7.7 million bpd from July to December.

Saudi Arabia has been pushing to keep the deeper cuts in place for longer, sources said.

UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo said a continuing oil price rally could unleash more stored oil and prove “self-defeating”.

“The marked price increase in recent weeks is bringing back crude production that was shut-in, triggering the unloading of oil stored on tankers and weighing on refinery margins,” he said.

Price gains have been capped by trade tension between China and the United States over Beijing’s security legislation in Hong Kong, as well as manufacturing data on Monday showing the world’s factories were still struggling.

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