Oil prices fall as OPEC+ sticks to gradual output hikes

Oil pump jacks on Canadian Prairie. (Mike Grandmailson)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Oil prices fell on Thursday after OPEC and its allies agreed to stick to their existing policy of gradual oil output increases.

Brent crude fell 21 cents to touch at $71.38 a barrel at 0626 GMT and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped by 26 cents to settle at $68.33 per barrel.

OPEC and allies led by Russia, a group known as OPEC+, agreed to stick to a policy from July of phasing out record output cuts by adding 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) a month to the market.

The group revised up its 2022 demand outlook and faces U.S. pressure to raise production more quickly, according to Reuters.

“While the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to cast some uncertainty, market fundamentals have strengthened and OECD stocks continue to fall as the recovery accelerates,” OPEC+ said in a statement.

OPEC+ has fulfilled a goal of removing excess oil from the global market and it is important to keep the market balanced, Reuters cited Russia’s top negotiator, Alexander Novak, as saying.

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