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Crude Oil Prices Remain Supported Near 2-Year Highs

Crude prices hover near multi-year highs on sustained optimism - Crude oil prices remained supported near fresh two-year highs on Thursday, as optimism over the rebalancing of the market offset news of a surprise increase in U.S. stockpiles last week.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude December contract was up 11 cents or about 0.19% at $56.92 a barrel by 09:50 a.m. ET (13:50 GMT), not far from the previous session's fresh two-year peak of $57.91.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for January delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London was little changed at $63.45 a barrel, just off a new two-year high of $64.65 hit on Wednesday.

Oil prices steadied near multi-year highs, after posting losses in the previous session when the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that crude oil inventories increased by 2.2 million barrels in the week ended November 3.

Market analysts' expected a crude-stock loss of around 2.9 million barrels.

The commodity remained supported by mounting expectations that oil producing countries will agree to extend an output cut at their meeting at the end of this month.

Under the original terms of the deal, OPEC and 10 other non-OPEC countries led by Russia agreed to cut production by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) for six months. The agreement was extended in May of this year for a period of nine more months until March 2018 in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices.

Discussions are continuing in the run-up to the Nov. 30 meeting, which oil ministers from OPEC and the participating non-OPEC countries will attend.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures were down 0.48% at $1.815 a gallon, while natural gas futures climbed 1.04% to $3.207 per million British thermal units.

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