Oil rallies to best week in years after OPEC output deal

Fri Dec 2, 2016 3:20pm EST
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By Devika Krishna Kumar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices rallied for their best week in at least five years on Friday, steadying above $51 a barrel, following OPEC's decision to cut crude output to rein in a global glut that has weighed on prices for more than two years.

After the deal was announced on Wednesday, the market focused on the implementation and impact of OPEC's first output cuts since 2008, to be joined by Russia and possibly other non-OPEC producers.

Crude prices were pressured by data showing oil output in Russia rose in November to a post-Soviet high and Moscow's plan to use its record November oil production as its baseline when it cuts output.

With cuts being implemented next year only against end-2016 levels, analysts said there was still a possibility that oversupply, which has halved oil prices since 2014, remains a factor next year.

"Global, and especially U.S., crude oil inventories are currently at extremely high levels after two years of massive oversupply," Societe Generale analysts said.

"While the OPEC agreement is very significant and will result in some moderate global stockdraws next year, it is likely to take more than one year for crude inventory levels to return to more normal levels."

Front-month Brent crude futures LCOc1 ended the session up at $54.46 a barrel, up 52 cents, 0.96 percent. The contract rose more than 15 percent for the week, its biggest gain since early 2009.

U.S. crude CLc1 settled at $51.68 per barrel, up 62 cents or 1.21 percent and notched its biggest weekly gain since early 2011, with a rise of 12 percent.   Continued...

A pump jack stands idle in Dewitt County, Texas January 13, 2016.    REUTERS/Anna Driver