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Why oil prices are pushing higher

Crude rose this morning after some of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ poorer members renewed output freeze talks.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 1.26 per cent to $44.83 per barrel this morning. Its US counterpart, West Texas Intermediate crude, swelled 1.32 per cent to $42.35.

“Opec members including Venezuela, Ecuador and Kuwait are said to be behind the latest reincarnation. But just like previous endeavors, it seems doomed to fail, given key Opec members (think: Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran) persist in their battle for market share, ramping up exports apace,” Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData, said in a note.

Attempts to coordinate an output freeze between some of the world’s biggest oil producers earlier this year helped crude recover from below $27 per barrel. But the talks were derailed by a disagreement between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Crude fell into a bear market recently after investor sentiment turned negative due to a glut of oil products which will clip refinery demand. Expectations for Libya to restart exports higher output from Opec and more US oil rigs also weighed.

A bear market is usually when an asset declines 20 per cent from its peak, within a two-month period.

Government data released last week showed US oil stocks unexpectedly rose again, however gasoline inventories plunged. This prompted money managers to raise their bets on oil prices falling to a new all-time record.

Barclays said today that the current oil price decline cycle could boost non-OECD demand, more so than in the first quarter. This would be driven by a weakening dollar, as well as lower refined product prices.

Source: City A.M.