Oil prices steady as market awaits extended output cut

Oil prices steadied on Wednesday as investors waited for news from Vienna where ministers from OPEC and other exporting countries were discussing whether to extend production cuts into the first quarter of next year.

Benchmark Brent crude oil (LCOc1) was up 10 cents a barrel at $54.25 by 1210 GMT (8:10 a.m. ET). U.S. light crude oil (CLc1) was unchanged at $51.47.

Both crude benchmarks have gained more than 10 percent from their May lows below $50 a barrel, rebounding on a consensus that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers will maintain strict limits on oil production in an attempt to drain a global oversupply.

OPEC has promised to cut supplies by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until June and is expected on Thursday to decide to prolong that cut by up to nine months.

“It could be three, six or nine months,” the Iranian Students’ News Agency quoted Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh, as saying.

Most investors expect an extension of nine months.

Sushant Gupta, research director at Wood Mackenzie, told Reuters Global Markets Forum that output cuts were likely to be extended until the first quarter of 2018, and that adherence by OPEC members to the output cuts would probably remain high.

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