SYDNEY (Reuters) – Oil prices jumped as much as 1 percent on Monday after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih indicated there was consensus among OPEC and allied oil producers to continue limiting supplies.
Brent crude futures were at $72.98 a barrel at 0009 GMT, up 77 cents, or 1.1%, from their last close. Brent closed down 0.6% on Friday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $63.39 per barrel, up 63 cents, or 1%, from their previous settlement. WTI closed down 0.2% in the previous session.
The rally came after Falih said on Sunday there was a consensus among Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other non-OPEC producers to drive down crude inventories “gently”, but his country would remain responsive to the needs of what he called a fragile market.
“This second half, our preference is to maintain production management to keep inventories on their way declining gradually, softly but certainly declining towards normal levels,” he told a news conference after a ministerial panel meeting.
OPEC, Russia and other non-member producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed to reduce output by 1.2 million barrels per day from Jan. 1 for six months, a deal designed to stop inventories building up and prices weakening.
Reporting by Colin Packham; editing by Richard Pullin