Oil up 3%

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    NEW YORK- Oil prices settled up more than $2 despite news that OPEC+ reached a deal to gradually ease production cuts from May.

    Brent crude settled up $2.12, or 3.4 percent, to $64.86 a barrel. US oil settled up $2.29, or 3.9 percent, at $61.45 a barrel.

    OPEC+, which comprises the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other allied producers, agreed to ease production curbs by 350,000 barrels per day (bpd) in May, another 350,000 bpd in June and further 400,000 bpd or so in July.

    “Ironically, the market has bought the OPEC+ story that demand will increase and the barrels will be needed, despite multiple calls by OPEC for caution in the days leading up to the meeting,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho.

    Under Thursday’s deal, cuts implemented by OPEC+ would be just above 6.5 million bpd from May. OPEC+ had cut output by nearly 7 million bpd, and Saudi Arabia made an extra 1 million bpd voluntary output cut.

    “OPEC+ is apparently placing much emphasis on major vaccine progress in key consuming regions such as the US and parts of Asia,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Illinois.