Futures rose as much as a 1.5 percent in New York, set for the biggest weekly advance since March. Most members support a proposal by Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend supply cuts for nine months, Algerian Energy Minister Noureddine Boutarfa said Thursday. A Bloomberg survey of analysts this week showed the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies will probably prolong their agreement for at least six months.
“OPEC ministers likely will continue to talk oil higher, there is more chatter on the discussion and that means there will be more volatility in prices,” said Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS Group AG in Zurich. “We still expect prices to move to $60 over the coming months because the oil market will be in a deficit as supply growth will lag demand growth.”
OPEC and its partners will meet on May 25 in Vienna to decide whether to prolong their supply cuts past June. Several OPEC members have voiced support for the proposal to extend curbs after Russia and Saudi Arabia said global inventories haven’t yet fallen to targeted levels. Yet, production in the U.S. has been increasing, threatening to derail the group’s goal.
West Texas Intermediate for June delivery gained as much as 72 cents to $50.07 a barrel and traded at $49.94 on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:42 a.m. in London. Prices are up 4.4 percent this week, the most since the period through March 31. Total volume traded was 41 percent above the 100-day average.
Brent for July settlement increased as much as 79 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $53.30 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract added 30 cents to close at $52.51 on Thursday. Prices are up 4.5 percent this week, heading for a second weekly gain. The global benchmark crude traded at a $2.89 premium to July WTI.
Algeria, which was instrumental in crafting OPEC’s historic output deal last year, has reduced production by 55,000 barrels a day, according to Boutarfa, who sees oilfield maintenance in May and June curbing its output by a further 15 percent. The country is also proposing to set up a high-level committee of experts to advise OPEC and non-OPEC ministers on extending or curtailing the curbs, he said.
- Spring started with American drivers consuming a record amount of gasoline, the American Petroleum Institute said on Thursday, a positive sign for oil markets counting on U.S. demand to help ease a supply glut.
- Brent futures could move into a price structure called backwardation — where later contracts trade at a discount to earlier ones — in the second half of this year if OPEC extends its cuts, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
- Norway’s oil output in April rose 4.2 percent to 1.7 million barrels a day compared with a year earlier, Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said in statement on its website.