Oil prices start 2020 higher as market awaits OPEC cuts

Monitoring Desk

ANKARA: Crude oil prices opened with gains during the new year’s trading on Thursday as the global oil market awaits the impact of additional production cuts by members of OPEC and its allies to trim the glut of oil supply around the world. International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $66.22 per barrel at 0635 GMT on Thursday for a 0.33% gain after it closed on Dec. 31 at $66 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate traded at $61.20 a barrel at the same time for a 0.23% increase after it ended 2019 at $61.06 per barrel. Led by Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s 14 members and Russia-led 10 non-OPEC countries agreed on Dec. 6 in Vienna to lower their collective oil production by an additional 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) starting from Jan. 1 until the end of March 2020. The recent reduction comes on top of the existing cut of 1.2 million bpd that was agreed in December 2018.

The group dubbed as OPEC+ will convene in Vienna on March 5-6 to reassess supply and demand in the global oil market, and see if additional action is needed to support prices. The US, the world’s largest crude oil producer, saw its output increase again to a record-high level of 12.9 million bpd for the week ending Dec. 20, according to the country’s Energy Information Administration (EIA). Change in crude oil inventories and production of the US will be released late Friday, instead of the usual Wednesday, this week due to the New Year’s Day holiday. (AA)