LONDON: Benchmark oil contract Brent North Sea crude climbed back to $60 per barrel on Wednesday, with the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cutting output and on easing concerns over weak demand growth.
Around 0940 GMT, Brent crude for delivery in March hit $60 for the first time in 3.5 weeks and was up 20% compared with two weeks ago, prior to an oil production cut by OPEC and non-cartel producers from January 1.
After reaching $60.05, Brent cooled slightly to $59.79, up $1.07 from Tuesday’s close.
Brent and the world’s other key contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), slumped late last year, hitting 18-month low points at $49.93 and $42.36 per barrel respectively.
WTI for February delivery was up $1.23 on Wednesday to $51.01 per barrel.
OPEC – a cartel of producer countries that has long manipulated output of the commodity to influence global prices in members’ favour – and non-OPEC members, notably Russia, in December agreed to trim production by 1.2 million barrels a day from the start of this year to shore up sagging prices.
OPEC and its partners, which together account for around half of global output, have presided over a glut in the market which had led to oil prices tumbling by more than 30% between October and December.