Oil prices extend gains

Ongoing production cuts led by OPEC supported prices

  

Oil prices hit their highest levels for nearly two weeks early on Monday, tracking a recovery in global markets and as ongoing production cuts led by OPEC supported prices.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery was up 74 cents, or 1.2 percent, at $62.42 a barrel by 0217 GMT, after earlier touching its highest since February 7. WTI gained 4 percent last week.

London Brent crude was up 46 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $65.30, it added more than 3 percent last week.

In stocks, Asian markets were in the green on Monday, in line with a global markets recovery last week.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.5 percent.

Stocks worldwide have already recovered more than half the ground lost in the recent sell-off, with MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the world gaining 4.3 percent last week.

In the Middle East, most of the region failed to track the rebound in global markets.

The Dubai index fell 1.2 percent in thin trade to its lowest level since November 2016 as real estate blue chip Emaar Properties sank 2.6 percent and Shuaa Capital lost 7.2 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index edged up 0.1 percent as Abu Dhabi National Energy Co jumped 4.7 percent.

Saudi Arabia's index edged down 0.03 percent, as weak insurance stocks weighed on the market after posting low fourth-quarter earnings.

Buruj Cooperative Insurance sank 8.5 percent after reporting a 62 percent decline in fourth-quarter net profit.

Egypt’s blue-chip index rose 0.5 percent responding to an interest rate cut at the end of last week. Real estate firms led the index up because their business could benefit directly from lower interest rates.

Qatar’s index gained 0.6 percent. Exchange data showed Qatari institutional investors were net buyers of stocks.

Kuwait’s index dropped 0.6 percent, Bahrain’s index fell 0.5 percent and Oman’s index edged down 0.04 percent.

In currencies, the dollar was little changed on Monday after marking a weekly loss last week.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was mostly steady, it rose 0.58 percent on Friday.

Spot gold prices were 0.2 percent higher to $1,350.28 an ounce by 0324 GMT on Monday as a weaker dollar supported gold prices.

In other news, Egypt’s deputy finance minister Ahmed Kouchouk told the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television network on Sunday that Egypt aims to sell Eurobonds worth $3-4 billion in the 2018-2019 fiscal year which begins in July.

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© ZAWYA 2018

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