Oil rally continues

LONDON, September 25, 2017 – Crude oil prices rallied to their best levels in months on Monday, as optimism that the market was well on its way towards rebalancing added to bullish momentum.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures tacked on 45 cents, or around 0.9%, to $51.11 a barrel by 8:05AM ET (1205GMT), after reaching their highest level since May 25 at $51.19.

U.S. oil prices gained about 1.5% last week, their third-straight weekly climb.

Meanwhile, Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., rallied 75 cents, or about 1.3%, to $57.17 a barrel. It traded as high as $57.26 intraday, a level last seen since Jan. 3.

The global benchmark closed last week with a gain of 2.2%, its fourth-consecutive weekly climb.

Major oil producers convening in Vienna for an OPEC-led committee meeting on Friday boasted record compliance with their production-cut agreement, but, as expected, decided to wait a bit longer to see if any further action was needed.

OPEC and non-OPEC compliance with the deal to curb output rose to 116% in August, the committee said, a strong increase from the 94% compliance achieved a month ago.

 

In May, OPEC and non-OPEC members led by Russia agreed to extend production cuts of 1.8 million barrels per day for a period of nine months until March 2018 in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices.

But so far rising production from the U.S., Nigeria and Libya has undermined the cartel’s efforts to curb excess supply.

Russia’s energy minister suggested that January is the earliest date that an extension to the global accord can be considered, although other ministers suggested such a decision could be taken before the end of this year.

The committee’s next meeting is set for November 29 in Vienna, just a day ahead of OPEC’s regularly scheduled meeting.

Elsewhere, in the U.S., market participants mulled over data showing the number of oil rigs continued to decline, suggesting a possible tightening in domestic production.

Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes said its weekly count of oil rigs operating in the U.S. declined by 5 to 744, marking the third weekly decline in a row.

The weekly rig count is an important barometer for the drilling industry and serves as a proxy for oil production and oil services demand.

In the week ahead, market participants will eye fresh weekly information on U.S. stockpiles of crude and refined products on Tuesday and Wednesday to further weigh what the impact of recent storm activity was on supply and demand.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures were at $1.646 a gallon, up 1.9 cents, or 1.2%, while natural gas futures added 1.3 cents to $3.034 per million British thermal units.

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