Oil Climbs on Expectations For OPEC Cut Extension

By Stephanie Yang and Christopher Alessi Features Dow Jones Newswires

Oil prices gained Friday after a week of losses, on fresh signs that Saudi Arabia plans to back an extension of OPEC's deal to curb global production.

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Light, sweet crude for December delivery rose $1.25, or 2.3%, to $56.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, snapping a three-session losing streak. Brent, the global benchmark, advanced $1.27, or 2.1%, to $62.63 a barrel.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid al-Falih reiterated the country's commitment to the deal, saying that further production cuts are necessary to continue rebalancing the market.

"This isn't a parsed statement, this is clear-cut and pretty unequivocal, " said John Saucer, vice president of research and analysis at Mobius Risk Group. "It wiped away doubts."

Many traders are anticipating that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers will announce a decision to extend supply cuts past March 2018 after their meeting in Vienna on Nov. 30.

Following the meeting last year, OPEC agreed to reduce its crude output in an effort to rein in the supply glut and boost prices, later bringing in Russia and several other producers outside the cartel. The deal, which was extended in May, is set to expire in March. Russia has also indicated a willingness to lengthen the cuts and is set to participate in the OPEC meeting at the end of the month.

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"It's going to be an OPEC-headline type market for the next two weeks here," said Bob Yawger, director of the futures division of Mizuho Securities USA.

Still, some doubts linger over some producers' commitment to the deal. The high level of speculative long positions in the market may also put increased pressure on OPEC to come out of the meeting with an extension agreement, Mr. Yawger said.

"Anything apart from an extension to the end of 2018 is likely to send the oil price into an immediate tailspin," Commerzbank analysts wrote.

This week, concerns over increasing output from U.S. shale producers also re-emerged, raising questions on whether they will continue to flood the market as other countries pull back.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said U.S. production rose last week to a record weekly high of 9.645 million barrels, while crude stockpiles climbed by 1.9 million barrels.

That report came a day after the International Energy Agency revised downwards its global oil demand forecasts for this year and next.

Gasoline futures rose 2% to $1.7484 a gallon and diesel futures gained 2.1% to $1.9415 a gallon.

Write to Stephanie Yang at stephanie.yang@wsj.com and Christopher Alessi at christopher.alessi@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 17, 2017 12:55 ET (17:55 GMT)