Crude oil prices continued an upward trend on Thursday over market expectations that the OPEC+ oil production cut agreement would be extended into 2021 and also on positive vaccine developments.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $43.81 per barrel at 0611 GMT on Thursday with a 0.02% increase after closing Wednesday at $43.80 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $41.48 per barrel at the same time for a 0.07% increase after ending the previous session at $41.45 a barrel.
Oil prices' upward momentum, which started at the beginning of the week with COVID-19 vaccine hopes, helped bolster prices towards two-month highs on Wednesday when Brent crude traded over $45 a barrel.
The gains continue on Thursday over expectations that the OPEC+ oil production cut agreement will be extended at their next meeting between Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
Saudi Arabia and Iraq affirmed commitment to the OPEC+ agreement late on Tuesday through a joint statement by Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman and Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.
Both countries stressed "full commitment to all decisions that have been agreed upon, in a manner that guarantees reaching fair and appropriate oil prices for exporters and consumers in the global oil market."
The OPEC+ group, which has curbed output since January 2017 to support prices, is now reducing production by 7.7 million barrels per day (b/d), down from cuts totaling 9.7 million b/d imposed from May 1 to Aug. 1. The group is due to pare that further by 2 million b/d starting from next year.
Optimism over the COVID-19 vaccine also supports prices, as US drugmaker Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech is expected to submit the vaccine candidate, which is found to have a 90% effectiveness rate, to the US government by the third week of this month.
By Ebru Sengul Cevrioglu