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Global oil prices shoot up to 9-month high

Oil prices touched a 9-month high on Monday in the international market as OPEC and other producers such as Russia restrict output at current levels in February and on hopes that Covid-19 vaccines may curb the spread of the pandemic and lead to a revival in economic growth.

Prices rose in line with broader financial markets with global benchmark Brent crude futures reaching $53.33 a barrel, the highest since March 2020. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude touched $49.83 a barrel, the highest since February 2020, according to Reuters figures. Most OPEC+ experts are reported to have been opposed to increasing oil output from February when they met on Sunday.

In December, OPEC+ decided to increase production by 0.5 million barrels per day (bpd) from January as part of a 2 million bpd gradual rise this year but some members have questioned the need for a further increase due to spreading coronavirus infections.

Mohammad Barkindo, secretary general of OPEC, said on Sunday that the group saw plenty of downside demand risks in the first half of 2021.

Kuwait’s oil minister also said on Monday that he expected a gradual recovery in oil demand, particularly in the second half of 2021, as many countries around the world start to distribute coronavirus vaccines..