Oil at highest levels since 2018 as OPEC+ discussions called off

Oil prices extended gains to hit some of their highest levels since 2018 after OPEC+ discussions were called off, heightening expectations that supplies will tighten further just as global fuel demand recovers from a COVID-19-induced slump.

Brent crude climbed 18 cents or 0.2 percent to stand at $77.34 a barrel by 0542 GMT, after gaining 1.3 percent on Monday. An earlier session peak of $77.61 was its highest level since October 29, 2018.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $76.57 a barrel, up $1.41 or 1.9 percent from Friday’s close. There were no settlements on Monday, a US holiday to mark Independence Day.

It hit $76.77 a barrel earlier on Tuesday, just shy of an October 2018 peak of $76.90.

Ministers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, abandoned oil output talks and set no new date to resume them, after clashing last week when the United Arab Emirates (UAE) rejected a proposed eight-month extension to output curbs.

The UAE, the group’s fourth-biggest producer, argued against a deal proposed by Saudi Arabia and Russia to extend quota limits until the end of next year, rather than ending them in April as originally planned.

The UAE agreed with the other 22 OPEC+ members that monthly output cuts should be eased by 400,000 barrels a day from August, but said the extension should be treated separately.

The group normally settles its differences in private and likes to put on a show of unity. But this rift runs so deep that the energy ministers of the UAE and Saudi Arabia aired their grievances in interviews with Bloomberg Television and other media on Sunday.


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