Oil prices jumped today on hopes that some of the world's biggest oil producers could finally cut production in response to plummeting prices.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, jumped 5.47 per cent to $34.91 per barrel. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate crude, the US benchmark, rose 5.82 per cent to $34.18.
Russian energy minister, Alexander Novak, said today that it was reasonable to discuss the situation in the oil market. He added that Opec was trying to organise a meeting with other producers in February.
Oil prices have fallen around 70 per cent over the last eighteen months due to China's slowing economy and a supply glut.
Until this week, there had been few signs that the biggest producers were ready to make such a move.
Opec had been maintaining production to defend its market share against the emergent US shale gas industry. Meanwhile, Russia was steadfast in its refusal to cooperate over production.
"The fact that the bigger oil producers are talking in these terms is limiting the downside," Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said.