ANKARA

Brent crude was trading above $40 per barrel on Wednesday with hopes that OPEC would deepen or extend its oil production curb next week and with a forecast for a decline in US crude stocks. 

The international benchmark climbed above $40 a barrel at 0045 GMT — the first time it traded above that level since March 6, 2020, when OPEC and its allies failed at the meeting in the Austrian capital Vienna to agree on a deeper production cut against weak global oil demand.

Brent fell to as low as $15.98 per barrel on April 22 with low global oil consumption from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and with OPEC’s failure to provide deeper cuts, which led to a rise in oversupply.

However, after the 23-member OPEC+ oil-producing countries agreed in April to lower their output by a total of 9.7 million barrels per day between May 1 and June 30, crude prices gradually recovered.

The market and investors now expect the group to agree on deeper production cuts or extend the duration of the existing curb to trim the glut of supply worldwide until global oil demand rebounds from the lifting of quarantine measures against COVID-19.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) on Tuesday forecast that crude oil inventories would show a surprise decline of 483,000 barrels for the week ending May 29, which helped push crude prices higher overnight.

Brent crude was trading at $40.41 per barrel at 0644 GMT on Wednesday for a 2.1% gain after closing Tuesday at $39.57 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $37.80 a barrel at the same time for a 1.6% increase after ending the previous session at $37.21 per barrel.

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