Energy shares lead Asian stocks higher on OPEC output deal


Energy shares lead Asian stocks higher on OPEC output deal

The oil producers cartel Opec has agreed a preliminary deal to cut production for the first time in eight years, sending crude prices surging.

But there were some tentative signs of a narrowing of differences in Algiers, where major non-OPEC producer Russian Federation also joined the talks on Wednesday.

Commodity-linked currencies held firm on Thursday after OPEC agreed to cut oil output in the first such deal since 2008, boosting oil prices sharply.

A report should be drawn up by the committee, and then filed to the next OPEC meeting due in Vienna in November, the head of OPEC specified.

Though limited, the decision came as something of a surprise - expectations were that once again the regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran would create a stalemate.

"We reached consensus to regulate the oil market through reductions in production", he said.

In London benchmark Brent North Sea crude for November delivery rose $2.72 to $48.69, while in NY a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was up $2.38 to $47.05. Brent crude, the worldwide standard, slipped 10 cents to $49.14 a barrel in London. The latest production figure for the group is 33.24 million bpd. A total of 3.53 million lots of WTI and Brent crude traded on Wednesday, according to exchange data compiled by Bloomberg.

Algerian officials shuttled through the night between delegations to try to secure agreement.

"We have chose to decrease production by around 700,000 bpd", said Iran's oil minister, Bijan Zanganeh.

The Saudi and Iranian economies depend heavily on oil but in a post-sanctions environment, Iran is suffering less pressure from the halving in crude prices since 2014 and its economy could expand by nearly four per cent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih has this week promised to "support any decision aimed at stabilizing the market".

U.S. oil industry analysts were hopeful but still skeptical Thursday that OPEC would be able to boost oil prices with an agreement to limit output.

"We must act on supply to re-stabilize the market" which has been hit by a massive surplus that has dragged prices down to record lows in the past two years, Boutarfa told a news conference.

He did not name any specific countries, but Venezuela, Angola and Gabon are all examples of oil producers that do not have large sovereign wealth funds to protect against low oil prices. The deal in Algiers follows failed talks in Qatar in April for a production freeze. That fall largely came from a boom in US shale oil and countries like Saudi Arabia keeping their production high to hold onto market share.

And higher prices, as is likely to eventuate should the OPEC deal be formally approved, will make it all the more appealing to non-OPEC producers to keep pumping to capitalise on higher prices.

"The cut is clearly bullish", said Mike Wittner, head of oil-market research at Societe Generale SA in NY.

"It's important from a signalling perspective, as far as how did the market react to this".

The agreement also signals a new phase in relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which have clashed on oil policy since 2014 and are backing opposite sides in civil wars in Syria and Yemen.



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