Crude oil futures ended lower on Thursday, taking a breather after eight successive days of gains.

However, hopes that energy demand will pick up thanks to vaccination drive gathering momentum, and the major oil producers’ decision to extend output cuts for another couple of months supported the commodity and limited its downside.

Recent data showing a drop in crude inventories in the U.S. too supported oil prices.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for March settled at $58.24 a barrel, losing $0.44 or about 0.8%.

Brent crude futures were down $0.60 or 0.98% at $60.87 a little while ago.

OPEC+ would keep its output cuts policy unchanged at a March meeting and Saudi Arabia will continue making its extra voluntary cuts of a million barrels per day, Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar said in a press conference on Wednesday.

However, there is speculation that Saudi Arabia might consider reducing output by less than 1 million barrels per day.

Traders were also digesting a report from the European Commission which said in its interim Winter forecast that said the near-term outlook for the euro area looks weaker than expected last autumn, as the pandemic tightened its grip on the region.

EC expects the euro area to grow 3.8% this year, instead of 4.2% projected previously. Meanwhile, the outlook for 2022 was raised to 3.8% from 3%.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com

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