Oil rises on hopes OPEC will extend supply cuts

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HOUSTON (Oct 16): Oil rose above US$59 a barrel on Wednesday, gaining support due to signs that OPEC and allied producers will make further curbs to oil supply in December, and as traders covered short positions ahead of an industry report on U.S. crude inventories.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, rose 83 cents or 1.4% to US$59.57 a barrel by 10:36 a.m. CDT (1536 GMT). U.S. crude gained 82 cents or 1.36% to US$53.63.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies meet on Dec 5-6 in Vienna to review output policy.

Market participants believe the group known as OPEC+ could decide to extend production cuts "and wait until world demand catches up with the supply situation," said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston.

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo has said deeper cuts in oil production are an option. On Tuesday, he said OPEC would do what it could with allied producers to sustain oil market stability beyond 2020.

OPEC, Russia and other producers have agreed to cut oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day until March 2020.

"You did see the OPEC secretary general say OPEC could act to keep the market stable, and if we come back under pressure again we might see that again," said Gene McGillian, vice president of market research at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

In early trading, prices had slipped because of concerns about weaker demand for fuel due to slower economic growth and forecasts of a further rise in U.S. crude inventories.

On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund fed worries about crude demand when it said the U.S.-China trade war would cut 2019 global growth to its slowest since the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

The American Petroleum Institute (API) reports weekly U.S. inventory numbers at 2030 GMT, ahead of government stocks data. Analysts estimate U.S. crude inventories rose by around 2.8 million barrels last week.

"The market oversold yesterday on talk of a big build in inventory," said Phil Flynn, senior energy analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. "We're seeing some short covering ahead of the (API) report tonight."

Optimism about an imminent Brexit deal had supported prices, although this faded after EU sources said talks hit a standstill and Ireland said there were issues to be resolved.

Analysts have said any agreement that avoids a no-deal Brexit should boost economic growth and, in turn, oil demand.