Crude Oil Prices Settle Above $50, Shrugs off Uptick in Supplies – Oil prices settled higher on Wednesday, as bearish data showing U.S. supplies of crude oil rose more than expected was overshadowed by growing expectations that Opec will decide to extend its agreement to cut oil output.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for November delivery rose by 1.9% to settle at $50.41 a barrel, while on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent gained 1.99% to trade at $56.24 a barrel.

A report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) showing crude stockpiles rose more than expected last week briefly pared earlier gains amid growing investor optimism on a possible extension to the Opec-led agreement to cut oil output.

Inventories of U.S. crude rose by roughly 4.6m barrels in the week ended Sept. 15, confounding expectations of a rise of about only 3.4m barrels. It was the third weekly build in crude stockpiles.

Gasoline inventories, one of the products that crude is refined into, fell by roughly 2.13m barrels, missing expectations of a draw of 2.14m barrels while distillate stockpiles fell by 5.7m barrels, topping expectations of a decline of 1.6m barrels.

The third-weekly build in US crude stockpiles comes after heavy flooding due to storm Harvey knocked out nearly quarter of the U.S. refining capacity in August, pressuring demand for crude oil, the primary input at refineries.

The bullish start to the week for crude prices follows comments from Iraqi oil minister Jabar al-Luaibi, in which he said that Iraq and other OPEC members are considering options to its production-cut agreement, including an extension beyond March and a deeper output cut.

In May, Opec and non-Opec members agreed to extend production cuts for a period of nine months until March, but stuck to production cuts of 1.8 million bpd agreed in November last year.

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