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Oil Up, Investors Turn Focus to OPEC+ Output Decision

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By Gina Lee

Investing.com – Oil was up Thursday morning in Asia, rising for a second consecutive session over the prospect of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) deciding against increasing output at its meeting later in the day. A larger-than-expected build in U.S. crude oil inventories also gave the black liquid a boost.

Brent oil futures gained 0.48% to $64.38 by 11:04 PM ET (4:04 AM GMT) and WTI futures were up 0.44% to $61.55. Both Brent and WTI futures remained above the $60 mark.

“Prices hinge on Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s preference to add more crude oil production … perhaps more interesting is the lack of U.S. shale response to the higher crude oil prices, which is favorable for higher prices,” Axi global market strategist Stephen Innes told Reuters.

OPEC+ is reportedly considering continuing production cuts in April instead of raising output, with fuel demand recovery remaining fragile due to COVID-19. The cartel had been widely expected to ease production cuts by around 500,000 barrels per day from April.

“OPEC+ is currently meeting to discuss its current supply agreement. This raised the specter of a rollover in supply cuts, which also buoyed the market,” ANZ analysts said in a note.

Meanwhile, U.S. crude oil supply data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) showed a massive build of 21.563 million barrels for the week to Feb. 26. Forecasts prepared by Investing.com had predicted a 928,000-barrel draw, while a 1.285-million-barrel build was reported during the previous week.

Tuesday’s supply data from the American Petroleum Institute showed a build of 7.356 million barrels.

An unprecedented cold snap in Texas and surrounding areas saw refining levels fall to a record low as the weather cut power for millions of residents. With refiners unable to process crude, gasoline and distillate inventories also saw big drops, especially in the Gulf Coast region where their declines set records, the EIA said.

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