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Oil up as Kuwait revives hope for output freeze deal


Singapore : Oil prices climbed in Asia today after Kuwait said an agreement to freeze output during a producers’ meeting this month could still be reached despite conflicting statements by participants.

But analysts said the rebound would not likely last owing to a painful supply glut and weak demand caused by the slowing world economy.

At around 0430 GMT today, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in May was up 97 cents, or 2.70 per cent, at USD 36.86 and Brent crude for June was 68 cents, or 1.80 per cent, higher at USD 38.55.

Both contracts eked out an increase yesterday, but prices are still well below the USD 40 level reached last month following a rally driven by hopes of an agreement during the April 17 producers’ meeting in Doha.

Prices dived after Saudi deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman said last week his country will only agree to limit output if rival producers such as Iran followed suit.

But Iran, which has been raising production since the West lifted nuclear-linked sanctions in January, has insisted it should not be the one to cut back.

Key OPEC member Kuwait, however, said a freeze deal can still be reached without Tehran, Bloomberg News reported.

It quoted Kuwait’s OPEC governor Nawal al-Fezaia as saying that major producers have no option but to reach an agreement and that a freeze could set a floor price.

Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney, said traders are likely to wait for the results of the meeting before making big bets.

“Given the welter of statements… people are probably just going to ignore (the comments) until they get the results of the meeting,” Spooner told AFP by telephone.

Comments by International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde that global economic recovery is still “too slow” and “too fragile” further added to the gloom in the saturated oil market as it is bad news for demand, analysts said.

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