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Oil rises as OPEC+ keeps oil output policy unchanged

Oil rises

Brent crude futures jumped 44 cents, or 0.6%, to $79.14 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures advanced 36 cents, or 0.5%, to $74.18 a barrel

Oil prices rose on Friday following a decision by OPEC+ to keep its oil output policy unchanged, although benchmarks were headed for weekly losses amid unsubstantiated reports of a ceasefire in the Middle East.

Brent crude futures jumped 44 cents, or 0.6%, to $79.14 a barrel by 0730 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures advanced 36 cents, or 0.5%, to $74.18 a barrel.

On Thursday, two OPEC+ sources said the group has kept its oil output policy unchanged, and will decide in March whether or not to extend the voluntary oil production cuts in place for the first quarter.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia, known as OPEC+, has output cuts of 2.2 million bpd in place for the first quarter, as announced in November.

ANZ Research analysts said in a Friday note those production reductions should keep supply tight in Q1, with non-OPEC production increases set to normalise and U.S. output growth slowing in 2024 to 300,000 bpd from 800,000 bpd last year.

Also supporting oil prices were the U.S. Fed’s decision to keep the benchmark overnight interest rate in the 5.25%-5.50% range and comments by Chair Jerome Powell, who said interest rates had peaked and would move lower in coming months.

Lower interest rates would lower consumer borrowing costs, which can boost economic growth and oil demand.

Nevertheless, oil prices were headed for weekly losses of nearly 5%, as unsubstantiated reports of a ceasefire in the Middle East capped gains and caused the contracts to settle more than 2% lower on Thursday.

The recent reports on the progress toward an extended ceasefire, which could fizzle current geopolitical stress are keeping oil investors on the sidelines, said Priyanka Sachdeva, a senior market analyst at Phillip Nova.

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