Iran says supports extending oil output cuts

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The price for June futures of Brent crude oil has decreased by 0.88 percent to $55.40 per barrel as of 06:09 (GMT +4).

West Texas Intermediate, the USA benchmark for the price of oil, was down 0.2 percent to $53.07 per barrel.

Crude oil prices were pulling close to even in early trading Monday, following weakness overnight sparked by lingering US energy sector gains.

Trading was subdued to start the week with major market centre London still closed for the Easter holidays on Monday. The Opec and IEA monthly reports broadly provided a mixed picture but both emphasized better compliance to output cuts in March which is price supportive. We now expect that USA production will be 680,000 b/d higher at the end of the year than it was at the end of 2016, an upgrade to our previous forecast. "The drop in tensions following North Korea's failed missile test. have seen oil fade in Asia", said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore. Markets are braced for more geopolitical tensions over North Korea, after its attempted launch on Sunday of a ballistic missile failed as the projectile blew up nearly immediately.

In Libya, fighting between rival factions has cut oil output, but state oil company NOC was able to reopen at least one field and was pushing to reopen another.

While Iran fueled hopes that OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers could extend their output cuts beyond the six-month agreement, Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih said it was too early to discuss an extension.

Meanwhile, oilfield services firm Barker Hughes reported its weekly US rig count rose by 11 to 683, it was the thirteenth straight weekly increase.

Investors should also look out for important data such as the weekly United States crude inventories figures, to gain further insights into the pace of the oil market rebalancing.

The U.S. rig count has been rising steadily throughout the year, as shale producers continue to ramp up capacity in response to stable prices. As a result, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is projecting record US output of 9.7 million barrels per day in 2018. Official figures released Monday showed China's crude production slipped 6.8% on-year to 3.9 million barrels a day in the first quarter.

China's March refinery throughput also rose to 11.19 million bpd, just shy of December's record, as margins remained attractive.

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