Oil prices nudge higher on lower U.S. inventories

Aftermath of a Turkish strike near a displacement camp on Sinjar mountain, June 30, 2021. (Reuters photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Oil prices edged higher on Thursday, supported by lower U.S. inventories, as investors waited for a decision from OPEC+ on whether they would maintain or ease supply cuts in the second half of the year.

Brent crude gained 10 cents to $74.72 a barrel by 0651 GMT, while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was $73.66, up 19 cents.

Analysts had forecast a wider supply deficit globally in the second half as OPEC+, a group includes OPEC, Russia and their allies, maintained production cuts while demand rise, according to Reuters.

The OPEC+ group is easing supply cuts between May and July by 2.1 million barrels per day and will meet on Thursday to decide whether to leave production unchanged or boost output.

It is expected to also discuss whether to extend the supply reduction deal to beyond April 2022, Reuters reported.

“Sideline discussions indicate that Russia is proposing to boost supply while Saudi Arabia wants a more cautious approach,” ANZ analysts told Reuters.

The news agency cited Analysts at Citi bank as saying that global oil market fundamentals should be robust enough to justify an easing of production cuts, adding that they were factoring a 1 million barrels per day (bpd) surge in OPEC supplies in August.

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