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Oil Prices Settle Up 1% On Cuts To OPEC+ Production Targets

PARIS, France - Oil prices rose about 1% Thursday, holding at three - week highs after OPEC+ agreed to tighten global supply with a deal to cut production targets by 2 million barrels per day (bpd), the largest reduction since 2020.

Brent crude futures settled at $49.42 barrels, up $1.05, or 1.1.%. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled at $88.45 barrles, gaining 69 cents, or 0.8% after closing 1.4% up on Wednesday.

Three agreements between the Organization Of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, a group collectively as OPEC+, come ahead of a European Union embargo on Russian oil and would squeeze supplies in an already tight market, adding to inflation.

'We believe that the price impact of the announced measures will be significant', said Jorge Leon, senior vice president at Rystad Energy. 'By December this year Brent would reach over $100/bbl, up from our earlier call for $89'.

Saudi Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman said the real supply cut would be about 1 million to 1.1 million bpd. Saudi Arabia's share of the cut is about 0.5 million bpd.

Several OPEC+ members have been struggling to produce at quota levels because of underinvestment and sanctions.

"The countries that were underproducing are not going to cut production," said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. "Maybe Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, and the 'little train that could' Kazakhstan may cut production to new quota, but I doubt anybody else will."

The output cut comes as the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks are raising interest rates to fight inflation. Higher oil prices will likely cut demand, which could cap price gains, said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital LLC in New York.

"That's what's cutting back the other way and why prices have stabilized for WTI just under $90," Kilduff said.

U.S. President Joe Biden expressed disappointment over OPEC+ plans and said the United States was looking at ways to keep prices from rising. "There's a lot of alternatives. We haven't made up our minds yet," Biden told reporters at the White House.



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