Oil futures rally on fresh push for OPEC freeze deal Crude jumps 1.3%

Crude-oil futures rallied on Monday after reports that several members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are pushing for a deal to freeze production to boost prices.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery rose 54 cents, or 1.3%, to $42.34 a barrel, while October Brent on London’s ICE Futures exchange gained 50 cents, or 1.1%, to $44.76 a barrel.

Futures have wavered for the last several sessions around the low $40-a-barrel mark after last week’s rebound from bear-market lows. The recent slump in prices have revived concerns over a supply glut in the market, fueling worries among some OPEC countries that the price is becoming too low again.

Members including Venezuela, Ecuador and Kuwait are now pushing for fresh talks on setting new limits for oil production in a bid to push prices higher by constricting the amount of oil they release to the market.

A freeze deal died back in April during talks in Doha, Qatar, when Iran refused to cap production until it had reached pre-sanctions levels.

Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed Bin Saleh al-Sada said in a statement on Monday the cartel will hold on an informal meeting in Algeria on September 26-28.

OPEC continues to monitor developments closely, and is in constant deliberations with all member states on ways and means to help restore stability and order to the oil market, he said.

Oil prices settled lower on Friday after data showed the number of U.S. oil rigs rose for a sixth straight week.

Elsewhere, China’s foreign trade data for July showed exports continued to fall in dollar terms in July from a year earlier, as global demand for goods from the world’s second-largest economy remained sluggish. But oil imports crept higher in July as appetite for foreign crude continued to rise.

This year has shown a significant pickup in China’s crude imports amid the decline in oil prices and robust demand from independent refiners.

Gasoline for September rose 0.3% to $1.38 a gallon, while ICE gasoil for August changed hands at $382.50 a metric ton, up $10.00 from Friday’s settlement.

Natural gas for September dropped 1.1% to $2.74 per million British thermal units.

Source: Market Watch