Oil halts gains above $40 ahead of Doha talks on output freeze

Oil halted gains above $40 a barrel before a meeting in Doha on Sunday where producers will discuss freezing output. Futures were 0.4 percent lower in New York after gaining 1.6 percent Monday. U.S. inventories probably climbed last week, according to a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report Wednesday. The Doha meeting will do little to boost prices and OPEC production could actually increase, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Iraq raised output to a record level in March. Oil has rebounded after falling to the lowest level in more than 12 years amid signs a global glut will ease as U.S. output declines. Saudi Arabia, the biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said it will agree to a freeze only if it’s joined by other suppliers including Iran, while Kuwait said a deal can be done without Tehran’s support. West Texas Intermediate for May delivery traded at $40.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 15 cents at 8:05 a.m. Seoul time. The contract climbed 64 cents to $40.36 on Monday. Total volume traded was about 80 percent below the 100-day average. Brent for June settlement gained 89 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $42.83 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange on Monday. Prices increased 8.5 percent last week. The global benchmark crude closed at a $1.08 premium to WTI for June delivery. (By Heesu Lee/Bloomberg)

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