Oil prices close at their highest level in nearly two years


Oil prices closed at their highest in nearly two years on Friday, after producers agreed to increase April supplies by a smaller-than-expected amount.
The price of a barrel of Brent North Sea crude for May delivery rose 3.9 percent in London and reached $ 69.36, the highest closing price since April 2019.
In New York, the price of a West Texas Intermediate barrel for April delivery rose 3.5 percent to $ 66.09, the highest closing level in 22 months.
The two benchmarks rose more than 4% Thursday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, a group known as OPEC +, extended oil production cuts to April, and granted limited exemptions to Russia and Kazakhstan.
“It just shows the surprise in the discipline of OPEC Plus,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets. Investors were surprised that Saudi Arabia decided to maintain its voluntary reduction of one million barrels per day in April, even after oil prices rose over the past two months.
Crude prices have risen since the beginning of November, but the present demand for oil from refiners and other consumers has not yet matched that, as shipments to major markets such as China are traded in general at low prices in light of the slowdown in sales.
Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that OPEC Plus’s decision to continue production cuts would harm consumers in the crude-buying countries. Analysts are revising their price forecasts to include continued supply constraints by OPEC Plus and shale oil producers in the United States who are curbing spending in order to boost investor returns. Goldman Sachs raised its forecast for Brent price by five dollars to $ 75 a barrel in the second quarter and $ 80 a barrel in the third quarter of this year, while UBS increased its forecast for Brent to $ 75 a barrel and for US West Texas Intermediate crude to $ 72 a barrel in the second half. From 2021. (Reuters)


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