Oil Prices Higher Amid Growing Supply Concerns

Oil prices rose on Monday (April 1st), adding to gains in the first quarter when the major benchmarks posted their biggest increases in nearly a decade, as concerns about supplies outweigh fears of a slowing global economy, (Reuters reports).

Brent crude for June delivery was up by 43 cents, or 0.6%, at $68.01 a barrel, having risen 27% in the first quarter. 

U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela along with supply cuts by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major producers have helped support prices this year, overshadowing concerns about global growth and the U.S.-China trade war. 

However, future gains will be limited by potential softness in the global economy as well as the ability of U.S. oil producers to ramp up production when prices spike, said Phin Ziebell, senior economist at National Australia Bank in Sydney. 

“It’s tough to see a really big rally from here,” he said. 

Still, analysts have turned cautiously optimistic on crude oil prices this year, a Reuters poll showed on Friday. 

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