Oil drops after strong rally

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    SINGAPORE – Oil prices fell on Thursday, giving up some of the recent strong gains on profit-taking and speculation that the market’s strength could tempt producers like Saudi Arabia to reduce output by less.

    Brent crude fell 40 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $61.07 a barrel, after touching its highest since January 2020 on Wednesday, after a strong run in recent days driven by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, agreed output cuts and vaccine rollouts fired up hopes of a recovery in demand.

    US crude slid 35 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $58.33 a barrel.

    Crude stocks last week fell for a third straight week, dropping 6.6 million barrels to 469 million barrels, their lowest since March, according to the Energy Information Administration. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a 985,000-barrel increase.

    Brent has risen for the previous nine sessions, its longest sustained period of gains since January 2019. Wednesday had marked the eighth daily rise for US crude.

    Some analysts say prices have moved too far ahead, and could tempt producers to open their taps a bit more. – Reuters