Oil rises after OPEC+ holds targets, China eases COVID curbs

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MELBOURNE, Dec 5 – Oil prices inched up in early trade after OPEC+ nations reaffirmed their oil output targets ahead of a European Union ban and price caps on Russian crude, which kick off on Monday.

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At the same time, in a positive sign for fuel demand, more Chinese cities eased COVID-19 curbs over the weekend.

Brent crude futures climbed 39 cents, or 0.5%, to $85.96 a barrel at 2309 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 37 cents, or 0.5%, to $80.35 a barrel.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia, together called OPEC+, agreed on Sunday to stick to their October plan to cut output by 2 million barrels per day (bpd) from November through 2023.

Analysts said the OPEC+ decision was expected as major producers wait to see the impact of the EU import ban and Group of Seven (G7) $60-a-barrel price cap on seaborne Russian oil, with Russia threatening to cut supply to any country adhering to the cap.

“Given the unprecedented uncertainties, the OPEC+ watch and wait strategy appears very sound,” RBC Capital Markets analysts said in a note.

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