Oil Steadies Near $62 After Rallying on US Employment Data

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It is not clear when the deal to restrain output will end, but Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said OPEC could agree in June to begin easing current oil production curbs in 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported.

While the producer group complied with a pledge to curb output and ease a glut in 2017, USA flows that are gaining a bigger slice of the prized Asian market may prompt some nations to boost supplies, said Warren Patterson, a commodities strategist at the Dutch bank. Prices were 0.4 percent lower Monday.

"The longer the deal goes on, it's going to start falling apart", Patterson said in an interview in Singapore, referring to an output-cut agreement between the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russian Federation.

"Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross will be speaking with representatives of the European Union about eliminating the large tariffs and barriers they use against the United States of America", he stated.

Helping the dip, hedge funds and money managers cut their bullish wagers on US crude oil for the first time in three weeks, data showed on Friday. Prices were at more than $115 in mid-2014, before a global glut sparked the biggest crash in a generation. "We have monthly reports from the International Energy Agency and OPEC in the coming days to influence prices, but for now, crude is having a downbeat start to the week, unwinding some of Friday's effervescent rally". Still, America is pumping record amounts of crude and forecasts for even more output are keeping prices below the highs of January.

Asia is "a market that the Middle East does not really want to give up", Patterson says.

The US has become the world's second-largest crude oil producer, ahead of top exporter Saudi Arabia.

"A falling rig count and the strong employment data may have helped support prices", said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Rivkin Securities. Only Russia pumps more, at almost 11-million barrels a day.

Hours before late Tuesday's American Petroleum Institute's and Wednesday's U.S. Energy Information Administration's weekly inventories report, traders are eying a surge in U.S. production that could push inventories in the U.S. higher.

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