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Brent tops $70 a barrel in unstable oil market

Brent tops $70 a barrel in unstable oil market

SINGAPORE: Brent traded above $70 a barrel on Wednesday, improving marginally from losses in the previous session as a turbulent market effort to get a price floor.
The market has swung between sharp gains and losses since OPEC said last week that it would maintain steady output in an oversupplied market. Brent and US crude are down more than 30 percent since June and touched five-year lows on Monday.
Brent hit a high of $71.46 a barrel before trading up 13 cents at $70.67 by 0731 GMT, after falling $2 on Tuesday.
US crude was at $67.07 a barrel, off the day’s high of $67.97 but up 19 cents from the previous session when prices dropped more than $2.
American Petroleum Institute data showing a bigger-than-expected fall in crude stocks supported US oil prices.
“The market’s volatility is a result of people working out what’s going to happen next,” said Jonathan Barratt, chief investment officer at Ayers Alliance Securities.
“Prices should find a volatile low at these levels” given that Russia, hurt by a drop in oil revenues, may act to prop up prices, he added.
OPEC’s oil supply fell by 340,000 barrels per day (bpd) in November as a recovery in Libya faltered, a Reuters survey found, although a lack of deliberate cutbacks by Saudi Arabia and other key members underlines their focus on defending market share.