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Crude oil futures stable to higher on OPEC production cuts

Singapore — Crude oil futures were stable to higher during mid-morning trade in Asia Monday, holding on to support from the OPEC meeting last Friday that delivered a larger-than-expected production cut to the market.

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At 11:00 am Singapore time (0300 GMT), ICE February Brent crude futures were up 43 cents/b (0.7%) from Friday's settle at $62.10/b, while the NYMEX January light sweet crude contract inched 2 cents/b (0.04%) lower to $52.59/b.

OPEC and its allies led by Russia agreed Friday after a tension-filled week to implement 1.2 million b/d of production cuts from January to shore up flagging oil prices and prevent a supply surplus building up.

"The much-anticipated OPEC meeting had shown signs of discontent early in proceedings, with members struggling to find common ground on potential production cutbacks. However, with Russia joining discussions on Friday, agreement was finally reached," ANZ analysts said in a note Monday

The cuts use October as the baseline level except for Kuwait, which will use September as its output was impacted by bad weather in October, and will last for six months through to the end of June.

The 24-country OPEC/non-OPEC coalition will meet again in Vienna in April to assess progress amid concern over the health of the global economy and the impact of trade wars on demand.

"During a year when the global economy is facing lot of headwinds, it is not inconsequential what we have done," Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said at a press conference after the announcement. "We try to keep the market within reasonable band for consumers."

"The agreement failed to list any specific country targets. However Iran, Libya and Venezuela have been exempt from the agreement," ANZ analysts said.

Elsewhere, risk sentiment remained heightened after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthize Sunday said that he considers March 1 to be a hard deadline for a trade deal to be reached with China and that tariffs will be imposed otherwise.

US and China agreed to a 90-day truce on trade tariffs at the G-20 meeting earlier this month in Argentina.

Market participants will also be looking for fresh price drivers in coming days from weekly US crude stocks data, analysts said.

As of 0300 GMT, the US Dollar Index was down 0.42% at 96.375.

--Avantika Ramesh, avantika.ramesh@spglobal.com

--Edited by Wendy Wells, wendy.wells@spglobal.com

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