OPEC and non-OPEC nations poised to extend output cuts

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Oil prices fell sharply in North American trading on Thursday, erasing overnight gains following reports that global crude producers agreed to extend production cuts for an additional nine months, while ruling out deeper cuts.

The sharp fall in oil prices in 2014 forced Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia to plan a freeze in output while it led to political unrest countries including Venezuela and Nigeria.

The goal is to siphon off a global oversupply of oil caused by a flood of production from US shale producers and record levels of output from OPEC itself in 2016.

Oil prices plunged almost 5 percent on Thursday after major exporters extended their deal to limit oil production for nine months, disappointing investors who were anticipating deeper cuts.

In December, the Opec agreed its first production cuts in a decade and the first joint cuts with non-Opec producer nations, led by Russian Federation, in 15 years.

The OPEC ministers said they would cut supply by 1.8 million barrels a day from the market during their meeting on Thursday in Vienna.

Saudi Arabia's energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, said OPEC was highly likely to roll over its existing agreement on the same terms for nine months.

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Analysts argue oil prices will only rise if every OPEC's nation follows the policy to reduce oil production, but countries such as Venezuela ignored their pledges. While he expects a "healthy return" for USA shale, that won't derail OPEC's goals.

Even a decision to maintain oil cuts thus is likely to only kick the can down the road from Thursday's meeting until OPEC ministers convene again late this year.

The Opec produces a third of the world's oil.

He added that OPEC members Nigeria and Libya would still be excluded from cuts as their output remained curbed by unrest.

"Opec officials prefer.to wait and see the impact of an extension in helping rebalance the market prior to taking any more drastic actions", Woods said. With prices above $50 from lows of past year, they are increasingly moving back into the market.

The Opec has a self-imposed goal of bringing stocks down from a record high of three billion barrels to their five-year average of 2.7 billion. "We expect substantial drawdown in oil inventories in the second half of the year".

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