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[HONG KONG] Oil held gains near US$48 as some Opec members backed an extension of the six-month deal to cut output, saying more time was needed to trim bloated global inventories.
Futures were little changed in New York after climbing 0.6 per cent Friday. Five Opec producers joined with non-member Oman to voice support for prolonging the supply curbs past June, with Kuwait saying it should be for an additional six months. In Libya, the nation's biggest oil terminal was loading its first tanker since fighting earlier this month halted shipments.
Oil last week slid to the lowest since November as rising US supply continued to counter production cuts by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other nations.
A committee of ministers from Kuwait, Algeria and Venezuela and their counterparts from Russia and Oman that met over the weekend asked Opec to review the market and give them a recommendation in April on rolling over the output reductions.
"There's a lot of impatience when we continue to see builds in inventory and growing US output," Daniel Hynes, an analyst in Sydney at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd, said in a Bloomberg television interview.
"The market's definitely asking for it," he said, referring to a deal extension.
West Texas Intermediate for May delivery traded at US$47.92 a barrel, down 5 cents, on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 8:48am in Hong Kong. Total volume traded was about 47 per cent below the 100-day average. Prices climbed 27 cents to close at US$47.97 on Friday, paring the weekly loss to 1.7 per cent.
Brent for May settlement lost one cent to US$50.79 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract gained 24 cents, or 0.5 per cent, to US$50.80 on Friday. The global benchmark traded at a premium of US$2.87 to WTI.