OPEC Oil Production Drops to 10-Month Low

USA crude futures settled up 26 cents, or 0.43%, to $61.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, was down 64 cents at Dollars 64.09 a barrel at 1215 GMT.

It noted the impact of growth of American production, saying, "Increasing U.S. production, driven by growth in the shale oil sector, has put a limit on price increases". Those settlement prices represented a modest recovery from session lows, when benchmarks had slid more than a dollar.

Prices were supported by stronger global demand and a supply agreement between Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) nations and 10 non-OPEC producers to restrain their collective output. US crude CLc1 was up 16 cents at $61.15.

Data on the website of the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry indicated, Thursday, that the OPEC has succeeded in trimming oil production by 1.8 million barrels per day since 2016.

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A weaker dollar makes commodities that are priced in dollars, including oil, less expensive for foreign buyers, lifting demand.

"We got a little extended on the upside - we had a price advance of more than $6 a barrel in crude in less than two weeks", said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Chicago-based energy advisory firm Ritterbusch & Associates.

"Then we have the volatility in the USA dollar and the implications of the tariff news to factor in", he said. Crude prices remained under pressure from concerns that USA production may be high enough to offset output cuts from OPEC and Russian Federation, he said.

OPEC officials will meet US shale executives at a USA energy conference on Monday, a gathering that underlines the influence of American output in keeping a lid on global prices. "A transition of the deal is needed but not yet visible, with both an over-tightening and an orderly unwinding being potential scenarios", said Norbert Rucker, head of commodity research at Swiss bank Julius Baer. The dollar index hit a six-week high on Thursday.

Crude production from OPEC countries fell to a 10-month low in February, mainly due to maintenance at a field in the United Arab Emirates and continued output declines in Venezuela.

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