Oil prices remained steady on expectations of a freezing output by major exporters, who are set to meet to discuss the proposal.

Brent crude’s LCOc1 front-month contract declined 7 cents at $41.47, while the US crude CLc1 rose 3 cents at $40.23 a barrel, Reuters reported.

Oil prices rose by more than 50% following a production freeze proposal made by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

"There is continuing jaw-boning about production cuts from OPEC members."

CMC markets chief market analyst Michael Hewson told the news agency: "There is continuing jaw-boning about production cuts from OPEC members, and inventories are now coming in at the lower end, rather than the higher end of expectations."

Prices also gained support due to weak dollar that makes oil affordable to holders of other currencies.

Data published by the Energy Information Administration revealed that US crude inventories edged up by 1.3 million barrels in the week ending on 11 March to 523.2 million barrels.

Based on BNP estimates, global stocks are set to witness a one million barrel increase by the end of the first half of this year.

Major oil producers, including Gulf OPEC members, are willing to discuss a deal to freeze output even without Iran’s participation in a meeting to be held in Doha on 17 April.