NEW YORK: Oil prices rose roughly 2% on Thursday on indications that OPEC+ producers could increase output more slowly than expected in coming months, while rising global fuel demand causes supply to tighten. Brent crude settled at $75.84 a barrel, up $1.22, or 1.6%. US West Texas Intermediate crude settled at $75.23 a barrel, gaining $1.76, or 2.4%.
During the session, both benchmarks climbed by more than $2 a barrel, reaching their highest since October 2018. Futures pared gains after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, delayed its ministerial meeting until Friday to hold more talks on oil output policy, sources said, after the United Arab Emirates blocked a plan for an immediate reduction in supply cuts.
"Such a delay in talks is unusual and would appear to indicate some significant discord within the organization between participants," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates. OPEC+ sources said earlier that the group was expected to increase output by 0.4 million barrels per day a month from August to December 2021.
"I firmly believe that in the near-term, OPEC+, led by Saudi Arabia, is looking to squeeze consuming countries and engender a higher price to make up for the damage done last year," said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital in New York.