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Four Oil producers agree to freeze output

Brent crude oil futures pared gains on Tuesday after Qatar said that four of the world’s largest producers agreed to freeze output at January levels, provided that other major exporters followed suit.

Qatari energy minister Mohammad bin Saleh al-Sada told a news conference that the step would help to stabilise the oil market, which has experienced price declines not seen since the early 2000s because of the pace at which supply has outstripped demand.
Analysts said that while the decision is a step in the right direction to bring supply and demand back into balance, global inventories remain near record levels and are likely to dampen any price rallies.

The oil ministers of Russia and Venezuela attended the meeting in the Qatari capital, together with Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi, who said the group’s next steps would be assessed over the coming months.

Brent crude futures were up 81 cents at $34.20 a barrel by 09252 GMT, having fallen from an earlier peak of $35.55, the highest price since February 4.

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