Monday 4 January 2021 10:38 am

Oil prices hover at 10 month highs as Opec mulls production curbs

Oil prices are hovering around 10 month highs this morning as producer cartel Opec and other oil rich nations meet to discuss output curbs.

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Worldwide standard Brent crude was up 1.4 per cent this morning at $52.50, while West Texas Intermediate rose 0.8 per cent to stand at $48.90.

Today’s meeting is the first of set of monthly meetings between Opec oil ministers and their counterparts in nations such as Russia.

Ministers will discuss how to keep the oil market stable by adjusting production curbs to match the level of demand as the fight against the coronavirus pandemic continues.

In December, the alliance – known as Opec+ – agreed to raise output by 500,000 barrels a day for January.

Producing nations are expected to maintain the current level of cuts through February, with sources telling Reuters that most were opposed to increasing output by another 500,000 barrels next month.

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The curbs have been in vital in restoring oil prices after the historic collapse last spring.

Prices ended 2020 around 20 per cent lower than where they started it, with demand still depressed by coronavirus restrictions around the world.

Speaking yesterday, Opec secretary general Mohammed Barkindo said that despite forecasts that oil demand will rise this year, considerable downside risks remain.

“We are only beginning to emerge from a year of deep investment cuts, huge job losses and the worst crude oil demand destruction on record,” he said.

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He added that demand is expected to rise by 5.9m barrels per day (bpd) to 95.9m bpd this year. Prior to the pandemic, oil demand stood at 99.8m barrels per day.