Oil hits highest since mid-2015 as OPEC sticks to supply deal

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Oil rose to its highest since mid-2015 on Wednesday as data showed OPEC has significantly improved compliance with its pledged supply cuts and Russia is also widely expected to keep to the deal.

Brent crude futures were up 55 cents at $61.49 per barrel at 1210 GMT, having hit a session peak of $61.70 earlier, the highest since July 2015.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude was up 56 cents on the day at $54.94 a barrel.

The oil price gained 7 percent in October, marking the fourth consecutive month of gains.

“The bulls have it and momentum is strong,” Saxo Bank senior manager Ole Hansen said.

“We know how oil can easily run ahead of what is fundamentally justified and we’ve seen that in both directions in the last couple of years,” he said. “We really need to see demand growth pick up even more strongly than what is currently expected for the bullish outlook for to be maintained.”

Optimism has been fueled by an effort this year lead by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers to hold back about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in oil production to tighten markets.

October output

OPEC’s October output fell by 80,000 bpd to 32.78 million bpd, putting adherence to its pledged supply curbs at 92 percent, up from September’s 86 percent.

Analysts and traders expect Russia to stick to its agreement to curb its oil output by 300,000 bpd from 11.247 million bpd reached in October 2016.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are considering extending the agreement to potentially cover all of next year.

Should participants after that return to full capacity and US output also grow, a supply glut could return.

“We could rapidly ... go from a predicted deficit of around 260,000 barrels to a surplus of close to 1.5 million barrels. Prices would undoubtedly collapse,” said Matt Stanley, a fuel broker at Freight Investor Services.

Another factor will be US output, which has risen by almost 13 percent since mid-2016 to 9.5 million bpd.

“US crude oil production is 410,000 bpd below the April 2015 peak of 9.62 million bpd. We expect production to surpass this level before year-end,” Barclays bank said.

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