Oil steady as cuts planned

Image: Reuters

Oil prices steadied near multiweek highs on Monday as Opec indicated it was likely to maintain production cuts that have helped boost prices in 2019, while escalating Middle East tensions provided further support.

Brent crude was up 10 cents to $72.31 a barrel on Monday, having earlier touched $73.40, the highest since April 26.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was down 10 cents at $62.66 a barrel, after hitting a three-week high of $63.81.

Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said on Sunday there was consensus among the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and allied oil producers to drive down crude inventories gently, but he would remain responsive to the needs of a fragile market.

United Arab Emirates energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said earlier producers were capable of filling any market gap and that relaxing supply cuts was not the right decision.

Opec data indicates oil inventories in the developed world rose by 3.3-million barrels month on month in March – 22.8-million barrels above their five-year average.

A gathering of the so-called Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in Saudi Arabia at the weekend did not make any solid recommendations, leaving a decision on policy for a meeting of Opec and its allies in June in Vienna. – Reuters