Oil Settles Up, But Off Highs As OPEC Official Discusses Production Agreement

By Mark DeCambreMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

Crude-oil futures on Tuesday ended sharply higher amid growing optimism about compliance to a global pact to curb crude output, but the commodity ended off its best levels as an OPEC boss talked down the prospect of an extension to the pact to shrink production. Crude-oil prices for April finished up 55 cents, or 1%, at $54.33 a barrel. Those for March , which expire Tuesday, settled up 66 cents, or 1.2%, at 54.06 a barrel. Gains for crude were supported by comments from OPEC's Secretary-General, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, who offered encouragement about the effectiveness of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' recent agreement to cut production globally by about 2%. However, Barkindo, who spoke during a International Petroleum Week conference in London on Tuesday, however, said it was too early to begin thinking about extending that six-month agreement, which began Jan.1 another six months, to the end of 2017.

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