Crude oil prices have climbed further after the OPEC+ alliance of major producers committed to maintaining reduced oil output to balance fuel demand, meanwhile US crude stockpiles fall to their lowest levels since March 2020.

Brent crude futures rose by $0.47, or 0.8%, to reach $58.93 a barrel while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures increased by $0.49, or 0.9%, to reach $56.18 a barrel, reported Reuters.

OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya was reported by the news agency as saying: “Crude prices have been rising higher now that OPEC+ has convinced the energy market that they are determined in accelerating market re-balancing without delay.”

At a meeting held on 3 February 2021, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, known as OPEC+, pledged to extend their current policy of oil output cuts.

Throughout the year, the oil output cuts by OPEC are expected to keep the market in deficit, despite the reduced fuel demand forecast by the group, according to a document seen by Reuters.

As per the US Energy Information Administration, US crude oil stockpiles dropped by 994,000 barrels last week to 475.7 million barrels, representing the lowest since March 2020. This further supports increased oil prices.

Moya noted that the continued Covid-19 vaccines rollout is also supporting oil prices.

He added: “The world now has several effective Covid vaccines that should really force energy traders to upgrade their return to pre-pandemic behaviour forecasts.”

Moreover, the fuel market was bolstered following the first move made by democrats in the US Congress to advance US President Joe Biden’s proposed coronavirus aid plan of $1.9tn.