Oil futures prices ended down during the first half of 2017, which also happened to be the six-month period for OPEC’s initial deal with several non-OPEC producers to cut output by 1.8MM b/d in an attempt to balance the market and bolster prices. A rally in April that was sparked by several production disruptions at countries not affiliated with the deal was fleeting, as was another rally in May after OPEC announced a nine-month extension of the output cut, to March 2018. The following chart shows prices for US WTI, UK Brent, and the OPEC basket of crudes, as well as the transatlantic spread between WTI and Brent from Jan. through June 2017.
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