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Oil prices climb on expectation of OPEC-led output cut

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SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose around one per cent on Monday as producer cartel OPEC moved closer to an output cut to rein oversupply that has kept prices low for over two years.

International Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were trading at $47.35 per barrel at 0023 GMT (7.23 p.m. ET), up 49 cents, or 1.05 per cent, from their last settlement.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was up 0.98 per cent, or 44 cents, at $46.14 a barrel.

Traders said that markets were being supported by advancing plans by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut production in a bid to prop up the market following over two years of low prices as a result of output exceeding demand.

Such a deal has proved tricky to agree as some producers, most notably Iran, have been reluctant to cut output.

But an agreement has become more likely as Iran, keen to increase output after international sanctions against it were lifted last January, was expected to be given an exemption if it agrees to cap its production rather than cutting it, leaving the onus of a an outright reduction on other OPEC-members, including its political rival and de-facto OPEC-leader Saudi Arabia.

As a result, Barclays said that some form of production cut deal was likely, but the bank added that any such agreement might have little impact on markets.

“We expect OPEC to agree to a face-saving statement,” the British bank said, but added that “U.S. tight oil producers can grow production at $50-55 (per barrel) and will capitalise on any opportunity afforded to them by an OPEC cut”.

Beyond the talk of a potential production cut, there were also signs of ongoing market weakness.

Japan, the world’s fourth-biggest oil consumer, on Monday reported a fall of 9.5 per cent in crude oil imports in October from the same month a year earlier to 2.78 million barrels per day.

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