Oil prices up as producers commit to output restraint

Crude has been climbing steadily since late past year as coronavirus vaccines and producers' supply curbs boost expectations of a tighter market.

"Once a critical mass of the population is vaccinated this year, we think oil demand will rise further", UBS said, adding "with Opec and its allies (Opec+) endeavouring to keep global oil production below demand, we expect petroleum inventories to keep falling as well".

Despite oil's rally losing some steam, crude prices have remained supported and oil's curve has strengthened this year amid signs of declining global inventories.

The document also revealed that the producer alliance's Joint Technical Committee, which held a meeting Tuesday, expects the year's oil market deficit to peak at 2 million barrels per day in May, Reuters said.

The ministerial meeting will convene on Wednesday, although it is not expected to recommend any adjustments to oil output policy.

West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery rose $1.21, or 2.3%, to settle at $54.76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, with prices logging the highest front-month contract settlement since January 23, 2020, FactSet data show.

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries was pumping 25.75 million barrels per day (bpd) in January, the survey found, up 160,000 bpd from December.

US government inventory data is due at 1530 GMT.

The API also reported USA distillates and gasoline stockpiles fell by 1.62 million barrels and 240,000 barrels, respectively, last week. Goldman Sacks said it expected the benchmark to reach $65 a barrel by July.

"A positive start", said one OPEC delegate.

Exxon Mobil Corp. pledged to safeguard the S&P 500 Index's third-largest dividend after posting its first annual loss in at least 40 years, a show of defiance by an oil driller besieged by activist investors and climate-change campaigners.

The nor'easter that paralyzed NY and blanketed the East and Midwest with heavy snow will edge its way along the coast as a blast of Arctic air sweeps behind it, sending temperatures tumbling across the central U.S. But the coalition will soon be faced with some tough choices.

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