U.S. oil prices rise supported by OPEC output cut compliance

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SEOUL (March 9): U.S. oil prices rose in Asian trade on Thursday as high compliance with OPEC's production cuts lent support, although U.S. record crude inventories weigh on market sentiment.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures climbed 33 cents, or 0.66 percent, to $50.61 a barrel at 0032 GMT, after plummeting 5.38 percent to $50.28 per barrel in the previous session, hitting the lowest level since December.

International Brent crude futures were yet to trade after closing 5 percent lower at $53.11 a barrel.

Crude inventories in the United States, the world's top oil consumer, surged last week by 8.2 million barrels, handsomely beating the forecast of a 2 million barrel build.

"When combined with the huge speculative long positions in the market, it’s not surprising that prices sold off so strongly," ANZ said in a note.

"However, there is increasing talk of extending the OPEC production cut agreement."

Kuwait Oil Minister Essam Al-Marzouq said on Wednesday that OPEC's compliance with an oil output cut exceeded a target, standing at 140 percent in February, while non-OPEC embers compliance was 50-60 percent.

Kuwait is set to host a ministerial meeting on March 26, attended by both OPEC and non-OPEC members to review compliance with crude oil production cuts.

OPEC and other major oil producers including Russia reached a landmark agreement last year to cut output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) during the first half of 2017. - Reuters