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Oil Futures Settle Sharply Lower Ahead Of OPEC+ Decision On Output

Crude oil prices retreated after early gains and ended sharply lower on Thursday with traders looking ahead to the outcome of the meeting between OPEC and its allies.

The OPEC and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+ are engaged in talks at the extraordinary meeting today to discuss scaling back crude production, aiming to stabilise oil prices.

Although Saudi Arabia and Russia are reportedly discussing to substantially reduce their outputs, it is being felt in some circles that the reduction will be just around 10 million barrels per day, much less than the required quantum of cut.

The meeting to discuss production cuts was earlier scheduled to take place on Monday, but got postponed to Thursday due to disagreements between some leading members.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended down $9.29, or 2.33%, at $22.76 a barrel, well off the day’s high of $28.36.

Brent crude futures ended lower by about 4.1% at $31.48 a barrel today, after rising to $36.40 earlier in the session.

According to a report from Baker Hughes, the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil dropped by 58 to 504 this week. Last week, the rig count had dropped by 62.

The total active U.S. rig count, meanwhile, also declined by 62 to 602, according to Baker Hughes. The data was released by Baker Hughes today as against the normal Friday release, as the market is closed tomorrow for Good Friday.

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