Oil prices settled higher on Thursday, hitting 11-month peaks, as markets remained focused on Saudi Arabia’s unexpected pledge to deepen its oil cuts and firmer equities, shrugging off political turmoil in the United States.
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US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled up 20 cents to $50.83, after hitting a session high at $51.28.
Oil prices have been supported this week by a pledge by Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, to cut output by an additional 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in February and March.
“By next month, this bull market could re-establish into higher levels mainly with the benefit of Saudi Arabia’s unexpected voluntary 1 million bpd production cut,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Illinois.
Seven North Sea crude cargoes were bought and sold in the trading window operated by Platts on Thursday, a record amount that trade sources say may reflect tighter supply after the surprise cut.
“Saudi Arabia …intimately knows the relationship between the oil price and the global inventory levels. Lower inventories equal higher prices,” SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop said.
Global equities were higher as investors believe Democratic US President-elect Joe Biden would be empowered to spend more freely following victories by two Democrats in Senate races in Georgia that gave the party control of both chambers of US Congress.
“Expected stimulus measures under a Biden administration that will likely include significant infrastructure investment represents a supportive consideration capable of boosting gasoline and diesel demand,” Ritterbusch said.
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