NEW YORK: Oil prices were little changed after hitting 2019 highs on Tuesday, maintaining recent strength on the back of expectations for OPEC to continue production cuts. US oil prices have climbed 9% in the last six weeks, as the supply cuts are now expected to continue through the rest of 2019. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) canceled its April meeting this week after a shorter get-together in Azerbaijan. Some analysts expressed concern that the cancellation was related to tension between Saudi Arabia, the de facto head of OPEC, and Russia, the largest producing non-member of the group that agreed to production cuts last year. The move to cancel the meeting favoured Russia over Saudi Arabia, which originally wanted to use the meeting to extend output curbs until the end of the year, Commerzbank said in a note. Brent crude oil futures were up $0.09 at $67.63 a barrel at 12:01 PM EST (1601 GMT), having earlier risen to a 2019 peak of $68.20, their highest since November 2018. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were unchanged at $59.09 a barrel. They also earlier touched their highest since November at $59.57.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2019.