Oil Futures Rise 3%, Rebounding After Sharp Decline


"Crude prices bounced back amid profit-taking after two days of losses."

Oil futures rose more than 3% Thursday, rebounding after their sharp decline in the previous two sessions, as traders speculated whether the OPEC oil cartel will cut production further at its meeting this weekend.

Crude oil for April delivery gained $1.36, or 3.1%, to $43.69 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"Crude prices bounced back amid profit-taking after two days of losses," said Nimit Khamar, an analyst at Sucden Financial Research. Investors were also watching the next move of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, he added.

On Wednesday, oil prices fell 7.4% after government data showed an unexpected increase in U.S. crude inventories. Crude supplies rose by 700,000 million barrels last week, the Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday, while analysts surveyed by Platts had expected a decline of 1 million barrels.

OPEC, which controls about a third of the world's oil production, will meet in Vienna on Sunday and there is debate within the cartel about whether or not to cut output further.

OPEC has already agreed to a reduction in output of 4.2 million barrels a day since September, equivalent to about 5% of global oil demand.

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