Crude Oil Pulls Up Short Of USD50

In recent years Saudi Arabia has been in a pitched battle with the U.S. to try to reduce the price of oil.

Analysts are expecting Opec to extend the agreement for another six months when the cartel meets later this month, and there appears to be a consensus emerging among nations involved in the original pact to extend the agreement beyond June, according to Saudi Arabia's Opec governor, Adeeb Al-Aama.

Crude prices hit a three-week high above $52 a barrel today, after top producers Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation agreed to extend output cuts for a further nine months, until March 2018, opening the possibility of extending an OPEC-led deal to support prices further than expected.

Venezuela is undergoing a wave of unrest with protesters angry at an economy in crisis, with food and medicine shortages and soaring inflation.

The fall in production from Iraq could support crude oil (ERY) (ERX) (PXI) (UCO) prices.

Global benchmark Brent crude settled up 98 cents, or 1.9 percent, at $51.82 a barrel, having touched $52.63, the highest since April 21.

Futures climbed for a fifth day in NY, extending a 2.1 per cent jump Monday after the Saudi and Russian energy ministers said they favour extending curbs until the end of March.

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Extending the curbs at already agreed-upon volumes is needed to reach the goal of reducing global inventories to the 5-year average, the energy ministers of the world's biggest oil producers said in a joint press conference.

"We've come to the conclusion that the agreement needs to be extended".

Saudi, the defacto leader of OPEC, and Russian Federation, the world's biggest producer, together control a fifth of global supplies, but have been spurred into action as crude futures have languished around $50 per barrel.

On the demand side, The IEA reiterated its forecast rate of growth at 1.3 million bpd for this year, to a total 97.9 million barrels, although over the first half of the year demand will grow more slowly because of India, the U.S., Germany, and Turkey.

A central part of their problem is the U.S. shale oil business and the competition to the established industry it has come to represent in the past decade.

"As producers in the United States are expected to increase output, prices will continue to be restricted from rising". US crude inventories are finally showing some signs of shrinking, falling for the past five weeks from record levels at the end of March.

However, last year Saudi officials agreed to the first cut in production for eight years.

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