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Oil gains 2 percent as Saudi Arabia readies more supply cuts

Reuters  |  NEW YORK 

By Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - prices were up more than 2 percent on Tuesday on steep OPEC production cuts, with its de-facto leader planning to drop March crude output by more than a half a million barrels per day below its initial pledge.

Rising investor optimism for a breakthrough in the latest round of U.S.-trade discussions also boosted futures.

Brent crude futures gained $1.42, or 2.3 percent, to $62.93 a barrel by 11:55 a.m. EST (1655 GMT). U.S. Intermediate (WTI) futures rose $1.20, or 2.3 percent, to $53.61 a barrel.

Production cuts implemented Jan. 1 by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by have tightened markets in the face of rising output in non-member countries, including the

OPEC said on Tuesday it had reduced production almost 800,000 bpd in January to 30.81 million bpd under its voluntary global supply pact.

told that the kingdom would reduce cut production to about 9.8 million bpd in March to bolster

Investors were also hopeful that a new round of talks between U.S. and Chinese officials would bring the two sides close to resolving their ongoing trade war ahead of a March 1 deadline.

"The potential for, maybe, an agreement between the U.S. and has pushed prices higher," said Tom Saal, at in

and Trade arrived in on Tuesday before high-level talks set for later in the week.

The fact that top ranking officials were entering the negotiations "elevated the expectations a little higher" for a deal, Saal said.

If the two sides do not come to an agreement by the deadline, U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

Rising U.S. oil production, fighting near Libya's main oilfield, sanctions on and suspense over whether will grant more waivers to import Iranian oil have left markets unsure about broader supply.

U.S. crude stockpiles were forecast to have risen last week for a fourth straight week, ahead of data from the (API), an industry group, at 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT). The will issue its report on Wednesday.

Also on Tuesday, OPEC cut its forecast for 2019 world oil demand, citing slowing economies and expectations of faster supply growth from rivals, underlining the challenge it faces in preventing an

warned of a "significant slowing" in global growth.

(Additional reporting by and Henning Gloystein; Editing by and Marguerita Choy)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 12 2019. 23:08 IST