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Weaker dollar helps lift oil prices

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Author: ReutersSat, 2017-03-18ID: 1489774870184472600LONDON: Oil prices rose on Friday, helped by a weaker dollar, as investors weighed the impact of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production cuts against rising US shale oil output and persistently high inventories.Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Thursday oil output cuts by OPEC and non-OPEC producers could be extended beyond June if oil stocks stayed above a long-term average.But analysts said the comments gave limited support because Riyadh has said it needs cooperation to rebalance the market and non-OPEC producers, such as Russia, have yet to deliver fully on reduction commitments in the first half of 2017.Brent crude was up 31 cents at $52.05 a barrel by 1102 GMT. US light crude was up 33 cents at $49.08.“The market remains relatively calm today with concerns about having to extend the production cut deal being offset by a weaker dollar,” said Saxo Bank head of commodity strategy Ole Hansen.Oil prices, which lost ground earlier on Friday, have found some support from dollar weakness after the US Federal Reserve indicated it would not accelerate plans for rate rises. The fall in the greenback boosted dollar-denominated crude.Oil prices fell sharply last week on concerns that OPEC-led production cuts were not reducing the global supply overhang as quickly as expected in the face of increased US output.OPEC and non-OPEC members reached agreement last year to cut output by a combined 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017.But OPEC’s monthly report showed global oil inventories rose in January to 278 million barrels above the five-year average.Investors took some comfort from a dip in US stockpiles in the week to March 10, after nine weekly rises. However, the fall in US inventories was a modest 237,000 barrels, leaving 528 million barrels in storage, close to record highs.In a further sign that OPEC’s efforts have had little impact so far, oil shipments to Asia have increased 3 percent since the OPEC supply cut deal was made.
Main category: Business & Economy

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