OPEC oil ministers poised to extend production cuts

OPEC and allied oil producing-nations are going into meetings amid apparent consensus on extending their output cuts.

Benchmark crude prices are now close to $60 a barrel, depending on the grades, up almost 20 percent since a year ago, and OPEC officials attribute the recovery to last November's decision to reduce market supply.

With prices at two year highs, signs point to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their non-OPEC partners agreeing Thursday to keep limiting the availability of crude by prolonging the daily 1.8 million barrel output reductions.

Comments by Iraqi oil minister Jabbar Ali Hussein Al-Luiebi have strengthened such expectations. Ahead of the meeting he said there was broad agreement among all OPEC ministers on "extending the oil production cut" until the end of next year.