Oil prices steady after gains on Saudi output cuts


crude oil pricesOil prices were little changed on Friday after gaining nearly one per cent the day before on news that Saudi Arabia had cut production to meet OPEC’s agreement to reduce output.

Saudi Arabia has been curbing oil output in January by at least 486,000 barrels per day to 10.058 million bpd, fully implementing OPEC’s agreement to slow production, according to a Gulf source familiar with Saudi oil policy.

NYMEX crude for February delivery was at $53.69 a barrel by 0016 GMT, after closing up 50 cents on Thursday.

Brent crude for March delivery had yet to trade after settling up 43 cents at 56.89 dollars a barrel.

Prices had fallen earlier on Thursday after data showed a surprisingly large increase in US gasoline and distillate inventories.

United States crude stocks dropped sharply to end the year, the Energy Information Administration said, with a draw of 7.1 million barrels.

However, stocks of gasoline and distillates surged as refiners ramped up production to reduce crude inventories, a year-end practice to avoid higher taxes.