Oil barrels

Oil prices have remained relatively unchanged, as investors evaluated the likelihood of tighter supplies from OPEC+ producers beginning in May against concerns about weakening global economic growth, which could dampen fuel demand.

By 02:37 GMT, Brent crude futures fell 5 cents to $85.07 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude rose 2 cents to $80.72 per barrel.

Last week, both contracts rose for a third consecutive week, reverting to levels not seen since November, after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies surprised investors by announcing additional production cuts beginning in May.

OPEC+ will reduce primarily sour petroleum supplies from Middle Eastern producers, led by Saudi Arabia.

Following the announcement, the world’s largest oil exporter increased its May crude prices for Asian and American customers. Despite the production cut, Saudi Aramco has informed several Asian clients that they will receive entire contract volumes in May.

Separately, investors are monitoring the status of talks between Iraq and Kurdistan to resume oil exports from the north, which could increase the amount of sour crude on the global market.

The number of oil rigs in the United States fell by two to 590 last week, while the number of gas rigs fell by two to 158, according to a Baker Hughes report released on Thursday, indicating that US production will not increase in the near future.

The closely watched US inflation report that will be released this week could help investors determine the near-term trajectory of interest rates on global financial markets.

In spite of expectations that the Federal Reserve will slow rate increases due to the recent banking crisis, analysts say borrowing costs could still rise if inflation remains high.

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