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Oil markets firm on strong demand, ongoing OPEC-led supply restraint

Oil values held firm on Monday, supported by strong demand, a weak dollar and constant supply cuts lead by OPEC and Russia, although soaring U.S. generate means many analysts expect crude prices to fall later in the year.

U.S. West Texas Intervening (WTI) crude futures were at $66.34 a barrel at 0144 GMT, up 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their behind settlement.

Brent crude futures were at $70.49 per barrel, 3 cents lower their last settlement.

Oil markets have been propped up by equip restraint lead by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, which started in January hindmost year and are scheduled to last through 2018.

This supply restraint, coupled with oil required growth, has contributed to a near 60-percent rise in crude prices since mid-2017.

Brokers said oil has also been supported by a weakening dollar, which has wanton over 3 percent in value against a basket of leading currencies since the start of this year and is down by on the brink of 13 percent since January 2017.

“Loose fiscal policy in the U.S., a amelioration in growth in Europe and an acceleration in EM (emerging market) growth have all linked to push the dollar lower and oil prices higher,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch averred in a note.

U.S. bank JP Morgan said it had increased its 2018 average rate forecast by $10 per barrel to $70 per barrel for Brent and by $10.70 per barrel for WTI to $65.63.

“We keep in view Brent to touch close to $78 per barrel towards end of Q1 2018 or inappropriate Q2 2018,” it added.

JP Morgan said the increase was largely due to OPEC holding supplies, but added it expected prices to fall towards the end of the year as trade ins become “flush with oil from (U.S.) shale and other unconventional oils.”

U.S. unrefined production has grown by over 17 percent since mid-2016 to 9.88 million barrels per day (bpd) in mid-January.

Create is expected to break through 10 million bpd soon. U.S. energy attendances added 12 oil rigs drilling for new production last week, delightful the total to 759, General Electric Baker Hughes energy servicings firm said on Friday.

U.S. production is already on par with top exporter and OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia. Lone Russia produces more, averaging 10.98 million bpd in 2017.

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