Supply discipline and demand to prop up oil prices in 2018

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This week, WTI broke above $60 a barrel for the first time since June 2015, while Brent breached $67 for the first time since May 2015.

The rise saw WTI hitting its highest level since June 2015 on the final trading day of 2017.Brent crude futures - the global benchmark for oil prices - were also up, rising 33 cents or 0.5 percent to $66.49 a barrel.

Crude oil were lower on Friday as expectations OPEC and other producers will extend their production cut agreement were offset by forecasts USA output will continue to grow with prices holding near 28-month highs.

Kim Kwangrae, a commodities analyst at Samsung Futures Inc.

WTI Crude Oil (Light Sweet) price at NYMEХ Stock Exchange up by 0.85% to $60.22 per barrel.

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Specifically, slightly more than half the survey's respondents expect the rig count to continue to climb six months from now, but almost all said oil above $60 will be needed for a substantial increase.

Refiners have profited in recent months as the spread widened between USA crude and Brent futures prices. Inventories excluding the nation's strategic reserve have declined more than 11 per cent in the previous year.

Based on total expected quotas, China's imports-which at around 8.5 million bpd are already the world's biggest-are expected to hit another record in 2018 as new refining capacity is brought on stream and Beijing allows more independent refiners to import crude.

Strong OPEC compliance with the supply pact should lend support to prices, analysts said. The US expects production to top 10 million barrels a day in the coming year. The cuts started last January and are scheduled to cover all of 2018. While gains were driven by glut-shrinking output cuts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russian Federation, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East as well as pipeline disruptions from the North Sea to Canada and Libya have also helped.