Oil prices eased on Friday as Russia hinted it may gradually raise output, after having withheld supplies in tandem with producer cartel OPEC since 2017.
Brent crude futures stood at $78.63 per barrel, down 16 cents from their previous close, and more than 2.2 percent below the $80.50 multi-year high they reached on May 17. Brent broke through $80 for the first time in more than three years earlier in May.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $70.60 a barrel, down 11 cents from their last settlement.
The Middle East dominated Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia started withholding output in 2017 to tighten the market and prop up prices.
However, Russia, in particular, has been floating a potential end to the production cuts, with energy minister Alexander Novak saying on that restrictions on oil production could be eased “softly” if OPEC and non-OPEC countries see the oil market balancing in June.
Nonetheless, the downside risk to oil prices could be limited by geopolitical factors.
The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com