Oil Rallies on Renewed Hopes of Production Freeze

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By Brendel Balaga

Oil surged on Thursday, rising above $41 a barrel, after top oil producers agreed to meet next month to discuss details of a collective oil output freeze in an effort to arrest a 20-month oil glut.

Qatar’s energy minister, Mohammed al-Sada said the meeting between major OPEC and non-OPEC producers will happen on April 17 in Doha, Qatar.

Representatives from 15 oil-producing countries, collectively accounting for about 73 percent of global oil output, will be in attendance.

OPEC officials also said that a collective production cap will happen, with or without Iran’s participation. Saudi Arabia previously said the output freeze required the cooperation of all major producers.

Brent crude (LCOc1) added $0.81 to trade at $41.14 a barrel by 1009 GMT. It has rallied over 50% from a low of $27.10 in January, and is within range of its 2016 peak of $41.48 hit on March 8.

U.S. crude (CLc1) also rose, tacking on $0.92 at $39.38 a barrel.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar fell on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve tempered expectations of an increase in interest rates by June. A weaker dollar makes dollar-denominated commodities cheaper, and tends to support oil.

Crude also gained support from a smaller-than-expected increase in U.S. inventories. While the increase did not meet projections, U.S. stockpiles still hit a record according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration in a statement released on Wednesday.

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