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Oil prices rise on possible OPEC supply cuts

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WASHINGTON — Oil prices rose in early Asian trade on Wednesday after Saudi Arabia suggested the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could consider cutting output, though bearish economic signals from central bankers and falling equities weighed.

U.S. crude futures rose 34 cents to $95.23 a barrel by 0016 GMT, while Brent crude futures rose 51 cents, or $101.73 a barrel.

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Both crude oil benchmark contracts touched three-week highs on Wednesday after the Saudi energy minister flagged the possibility of cutting production.

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OPEC sources later told Reuters that any cuts by the producer group and its allies, known collectively as OPEC+, are likely to coincide with a return of Iranian oil to the market should Tehran secure a nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran said it had received a response from the United States to the EU’s “final” text for revival of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

Trade has been volatile this week as speculators try to divine ahead of Friday’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting whether the central bank is more likely to slow rate hikes or stay aggressive until it brings inflation down to its target of 2%.

U.S. government data showed lackluster demand for gasoline on Wednesday, which augurs for a notable slowdown in economic activity. (Editing by Sam Holmes)



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