Oil prices continue to rise

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The announcement of a long term alliance between oil producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation to be ratified by the end of this year is being sold as a safeguard against any wild market price upswings as well as a way to protect the market rebalance supposedly being achieved by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) production cuts. London Brent crude was up 52 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $65.36, after rising more than 3 percent last week.

However, "short term crude demand aspects and other fundamental indicators [are] still rather bearish-looking", analysts at consultancy JBC Energy wrote in a daily note Monday.

Foreign currency trader Oanda Corp Asia Pacific trading head Stephen Innes said oil prices finished modestly higher on Friday to chalk up a weekly gain, as prices continue to see-saw between the binary descriptions from OPEC's ongoing efforts to blow out the worldwide glut against the indications of rising USA production.

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Crude oil futures fell 0.42 per cent to Rs 4,015 per barrel today as speculators reduced positions to book profits at prevailing levels, ignoring a firm trend overseas.

Oil prices hit their highest level in almost two weeks on Monday, lifted by a global equity market recovery and tensions in the Middle East, although concerns of rising USA production tempered gains. The group is seeking to " institutionalise" their cooperation beyond the end of a supply cut deal later this year, according to the United Arab Emirates, while Barkindo said compliance to the deal stood at 133 per cent in January.

Traders are also paying close attention to another increase in the USA oil rig count. This is 7 percent lower than the four-year high oil price of $70.50 on 24 January.

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However, higher U.S. production seems to be trying to restrain OPEC's efforts.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) is set to state its forecast regarding the U.S. crude supply on Wednesday. Slower domestic demand, along with growth in natural gas, oil, and oil product production will drive the transformation, the EIA said.

The US dollar dropped back on Wednesday and is now down 12pc over the past year against the country's major trading partners. The more active April contract added 1.2 per cent to US$62.27.

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