Crude and product futures held steady throughout much of the US trading day Thursday despite fresh indications that Saudi Arabia and Russia would agree to increase output.

Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih indicated early on that a moderate increase was « inevitable, » with some reports citing an increase between 500,000-1 million b/d. Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said shortly thereafter that the coalition would consider boosting output up by to 1.5 million b/d.

ICE August Brent settled 80 cents lower at $75.94/b, having traded near that level throughout the US day. NYMEX RBOB and ULSD tracked Brent, with the former settling 3.42 cents lower at $2.0910/gal and the latter down 2.64 cents at $2.1587/gal. NYMEX July crude settled 25 cents higher at $66.89/b.

« The market has stepped back from recent four-year highs as [Saudi Arabia and Russia] look set to alter their production-cut agreement, » Tradition Energy senior analyst Gene McGillian said. « The shedding of speculative length we’ve seen in the market has stabilized, though, and selling pressure has eased. »

OPEC meets June 22 in Vienna to decide on the future of its production-cut agreement, which committed the bloc, along with 10 non-OPEC countries led by Russia, to a 1.8 million b/d supply cut. But the group remains divided, with Venezuela and Iran against an output increase.

–James Bambino,

–Edited by Richard Rubin,

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