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Oil Prices Stabilize as OPEC Uncertainty Persists

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Oil futures rose Wednesday, stabilizing after the previous sessions slide, as investors continued to weigh the implications of a standoff between OPEC members over output.

West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery rose 1.48, or 2, to 74.85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. September Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 1.43, or 1.9, to 75.96 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Oil trading has been volatile after talks by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies a group known as OPEC collapsed on Monday, derailing a proposal to ease existing output curbs and allow production to rise by 400,000 barrels a day each month from August through December.

Crude oil prices initially rallied on expectations that production wouldnt rise even as demand accelerates this year, with WTI hitting a 6 12year high and Brent trading at its highest since 2018. But markets turned down during Tuesdays sessions on worries the impasse, which centers on a call by the United Arab Emirates to raise the baseline that determines its output, could lead producers to open the taps and flood the market with crude.

The latest developments have certainly clouded the policy outlook for the OPEC group. However, leaders in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are unlikely to let the disagreement escalate to the levels of the price war seen with Russia in April last year, said Sophie Griffiths, analyst at Oanda, in a note.

But other analysts remain cautious.

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