Brent crude oil just broke $55 for the first time since July 2015

 
Emma Haslett
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Oil Prices Hit Historic High On Weak Dollar
Oil prices haven't been this high since 2015 (Source: Getty)

Brent crude oil shot above $55 per barrel today as oil traders continued to celebrate Opec's agreement, after months of in-fighting, to put a cap on production.

Global benchmark Brent crude rose as high as $55.33 per barrel in late morning trading, up more than 1.4 per cent, though it dipped 0.3 per cent to $54.30 by the evening.

West Texas Intermediate crude rose one per cent to a day high of $52.42, though it was later tracking down 1.1 per cent to $51.09 per barrel.

Prices gained an additional boost after the head of Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft, Nikolay Tokarev, said oil output cuts could begin in March.

Russia is a key non-Opec member the cartel is working with to curb production and remedy the global supply glut.

Prices have been lifted since a cap, agreed between Opec members last week, means Opec members will cut production by 1.2m barrels a day, to 32.5m.

It's the first cut to be agreed by members, who have been squabbling over a potential cut since oil prices first began their steady decline in mid-2014, for eight years.

The consortium will meet with non-Opec producers on 9 December.

But Donald Trump's win in the Presidential election has also served to restore confidence in demand for oil.

"The outlook for commodities, including oil, has improved in the US with promises of an increased infrastructure spend and the potential for the easing of restrictions on shale oil," said Stanhope chief investment officer Jonathan Bell.

However, he cautioned it's not all good news.

"We note that a rise in commodity prices brings higher manufacturing costs which may in turn prove stifling, and add to inflationary pressures

"Oil has been strong over the fortnight as a whole boosted by Opec decision to cut production by 1.2m barrels a day, but looks set to remain volatile as investors struggle to understand the longer term implications."

Ryan Sweet, director of real-time economics at Moody's Analytics, added that higher prices could drive up growth in the US economy.

"There is the possibility that higher oil prices... could be a net positive for the economy. The impact of higher energy prices on consumer spending shouldn’t be enormous and higher oil prices should help revive some energy-related investment: US active oil rig counts are already at their highest in 10 months."

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