OIL PRICES: ABOVE $53 AGAIN
REUTERS - Oil prices steadied around $50 a barrel on Thursday, close to the week's lows, on doubts proposed OPEC production cuts would be sufficient to balance the market, although a weaker dollar supported sentiment.
North Sea Brent crude was up 25 cents at $53.25 a barrel by 0940 GMT. U.S. light crude was up 20 cents at $49.97 a barrel.
Both benchmarks have fallen more than $2 a barrel from highs reached on Monday when investors bought heavily in the wake of an agreement by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia to cut production to reduce a supply glut.
OPEC members and oil producers outside the group will meet again this weekend in Vienna to discuss details of last week's deal, which aims at an overall reduction in output of around 1.5 million barrels a day.
Some analysts have suggested promised output cuts may be insufficient to dent global oversupply and rebalance markets.
"Optimism over the OPEC cut decision has eroded a bit," said SEB Chief Commodities Analyst Bjarne Schieldrop in Oslo.
"The devil will be in the details."
Stocks data on Wednesday provided little guidance on the state of the U.S. oil market.
U.S. crude oil inventories dropped 2.4 million barrels in the week to Dec. 2, compared with analyst expectations for a draw of 1 million barrels.
But stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma delivery hub for U.S. crude futures increased by 3.8 million barrels, the most since 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The U.S. dollar index fell as Treasury bond yields eased and investors eyed next week's Federal Reserve meeting.
"A slightly weaker U.S. dollar is supportive of oil prices," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said.
A weak dollar makes dollar-denominated oil less expensive for importing countries.
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AN - China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) is willing to invest $3 billion in its existing oil and gas operation in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Sunday following a meeting with the Chinese in Abuja.
REUTERS - Production at Libya’s giant Sharara oil field was expected to fall by at least 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Saturday after two staff were abducted in an attack by an unknown group, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said.
IMF - Output grew by 3.8 percent in 2017, underpinned by a resilient non-hydrocarbon sector, with robust implementation of GCC-funded projects as well as strong activity in the financial, hospitality, and education sectors. The banking system remains stable with large capital buffers. Growth is projected to decelerate over the medium term.
IMF - Higher oil prices and short-term portfolio inflows have provided relief from external and fiscal pressures but the recovery remains challenging. Inflation declined to its lowest level in more than two years. Real GDP expanded by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of last year. However, activity in the non-oil non-agricultural sector remains weak as lower purchasing power weighs on consumer demand and as credit risk continues to limit bank lending.