Oil heads for highest settlement in a month on Russia moves

Russia signals it may extend the Opec-led production cut

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock


Oil headed for its highest settlement in a month as Russia signalled it is weighing an extension to Opec-led production cuts, offsetting concern rising US production will exacerbate a global glut.

Futures rose as much as 0.7 per cent in New York after advancing 3.2 per cent last week following a US military strike on Syria. Russia’s energy ministry has been in discussions with oil companies regarding the need to prolong the six-month deal when it expires, Energy minister Alexander Novak said Friday. In the US, companies increased the rig count to the highest since August 2015.

The support from some Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to extend the curbs has sparked a rally above $50 a barrel. The cuts have stabilised the market and Russia will continue to watch inventory levels, but it is too early to decide whether the pact should be prolonged, Mr Novak said. While the nation isn’t a member of Opec, Russia and 10 other countries joined the group in cutting output from January.

“A six month extension is probably needed given the supply gains seen from those not bound by the agreement,” said Ric Spooner, a chief market analyst at CMC Markets in Sydney. “We may see a series of rollovers until there is a better balance in the market.”

West Texas Intermediate for May delivery rose as much as 38 cents to $52.62 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $52.45 at 1.57pm in Hong Kong, on course for its highest close since March 7th. Total volume traded was about 4 per cent above the 100-day average. The contract gained 54 cents to $52.24 on Friday.

Output Cuts

Brent for June settlement climbed as much as 28 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to $55.52 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Prices increased 35 cents to $55.24 on Friday. The global benchmark crude was at a premium of $2.58 to June WTI.

Russia, which pledged to trim output by as much as 300,000 barrels a day by the end of this month, will make a decision on prolonging supply curbs after monitoring results in April and May, according to deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich. Cuts so far haven’t delivered the expected price boost, he said at an energy ministry conference in Moscow on Friday.