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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery lost 88 cents to $45.90 on the New York Merc, while Brent for May lost $1.14 to $49.99, its first time closing below $50 since July, 2017 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $13.86 to WTI, down from a discount of $13.57. Natural gas for April lost six cents to $1.77. The TSX energy index lost 2.89 points to close at 109.12.
At a closely watched meeting today in Vienna, OPEC conditionally agreed to cut oil production by an extra 1.5 million barrels in the second quarter of 2020, in a bid to support prices that have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. This would be the biggest output cut since 2008. The key word, however, is "conditionally." OPEC says Russia and other members of the broader, informal group known as OPEC+ must join in the cuts, something Russia has already expressed reluctance to do. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov was quoted in Reuters today as saying his country is prepared for a drop in oil prices if OPEC and its allies fail to reach an agreement.
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