Crude prices down on reports of possible increase in OPEC production

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But speaking to a Reuters reporter on Tuesday, one unnamed OPEC source said the group is considering lifting those limits sooner than anticipated, in part because of the rising price of oil.

We saw that in practice moments ago when Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih said OPEC and Russian Federation are prepared to adjust policy in June, and that it is likely that there will be a gradual oil supply boost in the second half.

Prices of the American benchmark for the sweet light crude oil are sharply lower at the end of the week, taking the barrel to the mid-$68.00s area, or 2-week lows.

The price of Brent crude oil, the global benchmark outside the USA, has now failed twice in recent days to break convincingly above the $80 per barrel level, suggesting that the market is now toppish and ready for at least a modest move lower.

Benchmark Brent LCOc1 futures were down 59 cents at $79.21 a barrel by 0922 GMT, while US crude futures CLc1 eased 41 cents to $71.43 a barrel.

Allaying fears of a steep rise in oil prices, OPEC countries have chose to step up production of crude oil.

Oil prices have risen above a "sweet spot" between $50 and $70 a barrel that encourages global growth, cited UBS as saying.

"We should take seriously the possibility of an oil price spike. not least because oil spikes preceded 5 of the last 6 recessions (in the US)", UBS said.

Oil prices fell by about 2% early Friday.

The OPEC with its allies has curbed production since January 2017 to get rid of a supply glut that in mid-2014 led to a price collapse.

A dearth of pipelines in West Texas' Permian Basin, the most prolific USA oil play, is leaving supplies trapped in the region. Only Russia produces more, at about 11 million bpd.

Brent crude prices were down US$0.15 at open on Thursday and sat at US$79.04.

Meanwhile, commercial USA crude inventories rose C-STK-T-EIA by 5.8 million barrels in the week to May 18, beating analyst expectations for a drop of 1.6 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday.

"If sanctions are introduced against Iran, most of the Opec producers would like to be pumping more oil, particularly giving the higher prices".

"If prices get above there, that will further intensify and increase the likelihood that OPEC will do something ..." U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development Elliot Harris warned last week that trade risks and geopolitical tensions presented clear and present dangers to the global economy.