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After clocking their biggest one-day drop in more than a month on Wednesday, oil prices stabilised on news that Opec was moving closer to a deal to extend oil production curbs.

Oil prices were fluctuating between modest gains and losses, with West Texas Intermediate, the US crude marker, flat at $50.42 a barrel at pixel time, while Brent crude, the global oil marker, was down 0.1 per cent at $52.86 a barrel.

WTI had fallen 3.8 per cent yesterday after the weekly crude petroleum report from the Energy Information Administration showed that gasoline inventories unexpectedly rose for the first time since February raising concerns that US output was offsetting cuts from Opec and other major producers like Russia. However, news that oil producers are moving closer towards agreement on extending the Opec-led deal to limit output, helped improve sentiment on oil.

Opec and producers outside of the cartel like Russia agreed late last year to cut about 1.8m b/d in the first half of 2017. And Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid al-Falih said on Thursday the deal could extend for another three to six months after June. He added that a preliminary agreement had been reached by most, but not all, producers.

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