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Investors Weigh OPEC cuts as Oil Closes at 17-Month High

Oil Ends on 17 Month High
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Crude closed at a 17-month high in NYC as investors weighed OPEC production cuts against signs of higher exports from Libya and a U.S. stockpile glut.

Futures had not changed much, topping a 2.2 percent gain today. Libya’s greatest oil terminal loaded it’s very first cargo in about 2 years, after resuming two of its biggest oil fields following years of dispute. U.S. stockpiles broadened by 2.26 million barrels recently, keeping stocks at the greatest seasonal level in more than 3 decades, according to government information on Wednesday.

Oil has rallied since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed last month to kerb production for the very first time in 8 years. The deal was boosted by a promise from 11 non-OPEC countries consisting of Russia and Mexico to also cut supply. Iraq is completely committed to the OPEC accord, Oil Minister Jabbar al-Luaibi said Thursday in Cairo at a conference of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, known as OAPEC.

In a telephone interview recently conducted by Bloomberg, Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York, said: “There’s some pre-holiday consolidation going on, we’re going to be taking notice of headings, specifically those that suggest compliance with the OPEC production cuts and those about the current rise in Libyan oil output.”

West Texas Intermediate for February delivery increased 7 cents to settle at $53.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the greatest close since July 14, 2015. Total volume traded was about 64 percent below the 100-day average at 2:54 p.m.

Brent for Februarys settlement rose 11 cents to $55.16 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Rates are down 0.1 percent for the week. The international criteria crude closed at a $2.14 premium to WTI.

Libya pumped just under 600,000 barrels a day last month. That’s less than half of the 1.6 million before the 2011 uprising that stopped production and closed ports. It’s targeting output of 900,000 barrels a day by the start of 2017 and about 1.2 million barrels by the end of next year, according to National Oil Corp.

U.S. unrefined stockpiles expanded to 485.4 million barrels last week, the greatest seasonal level since the Energy Information Administration started assembling weekly information in 1982. The drill rig count has actually climbed up the past seven weeks to the highest level given that January, according to data from Baker Hughes Inc.

” There are numerous wildcards around both the supply and demand side that you have to be cautious,” Christian Schulz, director of European research study at Citigroup Global Markets Ltd., said in a Bloomberg tv interview. Costs will “usually rise as demand and supply globally come a bit more into balance.”

U.S. stockpiles expanded by 2.26 million barrels last week, keeping stocks at the highest seasonal level in more than 3 decades, according to federal government data on Wednesday.

West Texas Intermediate for February delivery rose 7 cents to settle at $53.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It’s targeting output of 900,000 barrels a day by the start of 2017 and about 1.2 million barrels by the end of next year, according to National Oil Corp. U.S. crude stockpiles broadened to 485.4 million barrels last week, the greatest seasonal level considering that the Energy Information Administration began compiling weekly information in 1982.

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