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"That, I think, is where we're headed", the official said. As of just after 10am BST, the price of brent crude was at $69.78 per barrel.

Despite Russia curbing its oil production by 225,000 barrels per day (bpd) from its production levels in October, the Caspian region country still missed the target set under the deal reached with OPEC.

Apart from the significant cutback from Saudi Arabia, crude prices received a significant boost from pending sanctions against Iran and potential disruption in Venezuelan oil production due to sanctions pressure on the country's energy sector.

Brent oil rose to $69.84 per barrel, the highest level since early November, and is now changing hands at $69.81 per barrel, representing a 2.8 percent gain on the weekly opening price of $67.90.

Portfolio managers increased their combined net long position-the difference between bullish and bearish bets-in the six most important oil contracts by 37 million barrels in the week to March 26, according to the latest exchanges reports compiled by Reuters market analyst John Kemp.

Oil prices have been on the rise in the last few days as hedge funds and other money managers rushed to amass more bullish bets on data that US shale oil production growth is slowing, brighter economic forecasts, and the possibility that OPEC will extend its production cuts into the second half of the year. Crude oil processing remained lower than usual. A day later, the EIA confirmed the build, estimating that crude inventories had grown by 2.8 million barrels.

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Earlier this week, a survey from Reuters said OPEC's oil production in March 2019 fell to its lowest level since February 2015.

Crude oil has been chipping away on the upside above the 200-DMA with bullish supply-side dynamics propels the black gold forward, coupled with the recent recovery in risk appetite.

Oil's pattern on the price charts could lead to further gains.

The United States is likely to renew waivers to sanctions for most countries buying Iranian crude, including the biggest buyers China and India, in exchange for pledges to cut combined imports to below 1 million barrels per day.

"Chinese manufacturing output is quite reflective of global demand, and any increase indicates a flurry of economic activity across major economies".


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