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Hot stock: Ezra up on hopes of firmer oil prices

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EZRA Holdings was among the oil-and-gas stocks that gained on Friday, amid hopes that stronger oil prices would lift the sector out of its deep funk.

Shares of Ezra were up 0.2 cent or 4.7 per cent at S$0.045 as at 11.25am. The stock was among the most actively traded, with some 16 million shares changing hands.

This comes as BMI Research on Thursday noted that a "material strengthening" in oil prices should help to restore appetite for upstream projects globally, and increase demand for Singaporean oilfield services.

BMI expects global capital expenditure on oil-and-gas projects to grow by as much as 2.5 per cent in 2017 from a year ago.

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With substantial efforts made in the industry over 2015 and 2016 in repairing balance sheets and reorganising businesses to operate more effectively, firms can take larger investment decisions in the months ahead, providing more opportunities for oilfield service providers, it said.

BMI has forecast the price of Brent to strengthen next year, averaging US$55 per barrel in 2017, from US$45.5 per barrel in 2016.

"We believe sizeable output declines among high-cost producers such as China, Mexico and Columbia, and strong fuel consumption growth in emerging markets will drive a gradual rebalancing of the oil market, supporting prices over the coming quarters," it said.