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June 1, 2020

Oil prices slightly change prior to OPEC+ meeting

Oil prices changed slightly with the OPEC nations considering meeting as early as this week to discuss if they have to extend record production cuts beyond this month.

By Himaja Ganta

Oil prices changed slightly with the OPEC nations considering meeting as early as this week to discuss if they have to extend record production cuts beyond this month.

Brent crude LCOc1 has not changed and stood at $37.84 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 for next month were at $35.53 a barrel, Reuters reported.

The price changes come after front-month Brent and WTI prices reported their highest monthly gains in years last month.

Gains were supported by production cuts and optimism about the recovery of fuel demand in several countries as lockdown restrictions are being eased.

In April this year, oil prices fell below $0 a barrel, turning negative for the first time ever.

OCBC economist Howie Lee was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The focus is very much on OPEC+.”

The OPEC+ group has agreed to cut output by a record 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd), to counter the collapse of prices due to the outbreak that shred the demand. The agreed output cuts are for last month and this month.

Lee added: “We might see a cautious pullback in (crude) prices given that downstream prices haven’t caught up … but if OPEC+ does come up with a three-month extension, there’s a possibility that prices may hit the $40 level.”

Saudi Arabia and some OPEC members are planning to extend these output cuts beyond June. They are yet to receive support from Russia to do so, according to sources.

Reuters said Algeria has proposed that an OPEC+ meeting scheduled for 9-10 June should facilitate oil sales for countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said: “It’s been widely interpreted as likely to lead to an extension of the current production cuts.

“Oil prices have come down slightly in our session but they’re still at elevated levels. I suspect that’s the key driver of prices on Friday night and should keep prices reasonably well supported today.”

Data from American energy firm Baker Hughes reported a drop in the count of the US and Canada oil and gas rigs to a record low in the week that ended on 29 May.

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