Oil hits 11-month highs on Saudi cuts, shrugs off U.S. turmoil
By Laura Sanicola NEW YORK (Reuters) -Oil prices settled higher on Thursday, hitting 11-month peaks, as markets remained focused on Saudi Arabia's unexpected pledge to deepen its oil cuts and firmer equities, shrugging off political turmoil in the United States. Brent crude settled up 8 cents to $54.38 a barrel after touching $54.90, a high not seen since before the first COVID-19 lockdowns in the West
By Laura Sanicola
NEW YORK (Reuters) -Oil prices settled higher on Thursday, hitting 11-month peaks, as markets remained focused on Saudi Arabia's unexpected pledge to deepen its oil cuts and firmer equities, shrugging off political turmoil in the United States.
Brent crude settled up 8 cents to $54.38 a barrel after touching $54.90, a high not seen since before the first COVID-19 lockdowns in the West.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled up 20 cents to $50.83, after hitting a session high at $51.28.
On Wednesday, crude futures prices briefly dipped when President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol after he urged them to protest Congress's certification of his election loss.
Oil prices have been supported this week by a pledge by Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, to cut output by an additional 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in February and March.
"By next month, this bull market could re-establish into higher levels mainly with the benefit of Saudi Arabia’s unexpected voluntary 1 million bpd production cut," said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Illinois.
Seven North Sea crude cargoes were bought and sold in the trading window operated by Platts on Thursday, a record amount that trade sources say may reflect tighter supply after the surprise cut.
"Saudi Arabia ...intimately knows the relationship between the oil price and the global inventory levels. Lower inventories equal higher prices," SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop said.
Global equities were higher as investors believe Democratic U.S. President-elect Joe Biden would be empowered to spend more freely following victories by two Democrats in Senate races in Georgia that gave the party control of both chambers of U.S. Congress. [nL1N2JI1A9]
"Expected stimulus measures under a Biden administration that will likely include significant infrastructure investment represents a supportive consideration capable of boosting gasoline and diesel demand," Ritterbusch said.
(Additional reporting by Noah Browning and Aaron Sheldrick; editing by Kirsten Donovan and Marguerita Choy and Sonya Hepinstall)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.