Oil prices rose today after industry data showed a surprise draw in US crude stocks and Saudi Arabia stirred hopes for a freeze deal at Opec's meeting in November.
Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose as much as 0.94 per cent to $46.39 per barrel. Its US counterpart, West Texas Intermediate, swelled as much as 0.91 per cent to $45.09 per barrel.
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Data released yesterday by the American Petroleum Institute showed oil stocks fell by 752,000 barrels in the week to 23 September to 506.4m barrels. The figure pleasantly surprised analysts who had pencilled in a 2.8m build.
The black stuff was also helped by Saudi Arabia's suggestion that it would be ready to compromise with regional rival Iran in the future. While this will not affect today's talks, it could pave the way for a freeze agreement at Opec's meeting in November.
Saudi energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, told Bloomberg that Opec members were becoming more aligned over the terms of a freeze. "The opinions are getting very, very close together," he said.
Oil has fallen over the last few days due to muted expectations for a meeting between Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) members at 2pm today on the sidelines of a conference in Algeria.
"The best that can be...hoped for at this afternoon’s meeting is the laying of foundations for a deal when the cartel next meet in November by which time Iranian oil output may well have reached the all-important 4m barrels-per-day mark," Stephen Brennock of brokerage PVM Oil said in a note.