Oil prices hit 11-month highs on supplies tight, Fed assurance on low rates By Reuters

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© Reuters. The Bryan Mound Strategic Petroleum Reserve is seen in an aerial photo over Freeport, Texas

By Florence Tan SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices rose for the fourth consecutive session on Thursday to their highest levels in more than 11 months, supported by easing monetary policies and lower crude production in the United States. April futures rose 19 cents, or 0.3%, to $ 67.23 a barrel at 0400 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude for April was at $ 63.30 a barrel , an increase of 8 cents, 0.1%. Both contracts hit their highest level since January early in the session with Brent at $ 67.44 and WTI at $ 63.67. The US Federal Reserve’s assurance that interest rates would stay low for a time boosted the risk appetite of investors and global financial markets. “Comments from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell earlier in the week regarding the need for monetary policy to remain accommodative have likely helped, but sentiment in the oil market has also turned more optimistic, with expectations of a tighter oil balance, “ING analysts said in a note. A rare winter storm in Texas caused production to drop by more than 10%, or 1 million barrels per day (bpd) last week, the Energy Information Administration said. [EIA/S] Fuel supply in the world’s largest oil consumer could also shrink, as its refinery’s crude inputs had fallen to the lowest level since September 2008. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, a group known as OPEC +, will meet in March. 4. The group will discuss a moderate easing of oil supply restrictions from April given a recovery in prices, OPEC + sources said, although some suggest remaining stable for now given the risk of further setbacks in the battle against the pandemic. Additional voluntary cuts from Saudi Arabia in February and March have restricted global supplies and supported prices.

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