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U.S. Crude Tops $40 For First Time In 2016: Exxon, Shell, BP Rally

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U.S. oil prices topped $40 intraday for the first time since December on a weakening dollar and hopes of a production cap from major producers.

U.S. crude was trading up 3.6% to $39.86  a barrel in afternoon trading, after  briefly topping $40 as the dollar fell to a 5-month low. Brent crude rose 3% to $41.53.

Oil companies also got a boost from rising oil prices.

Exxon Mobil (XOM) shares rose 1.7% to 84.26 in the stock market today. Chevron (CVX) shares were up 1.6%, while Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) and BP (BP) shares climbed about 3% apiece. Shale producer Continental Resources (CLR) shares jumped 5.1.%

On Wednesday, Qatari Energy Minister Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada said Saudi Arabia, Russia and other oil exporters — both Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries members and non-OPEC countries — plan to meet April 17 in Qatar to discuss a possible oilproduction freeze.

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The meeting had originally been set for March 20 but was canceled because Iran said it wouldn’t participate in a production freeze at its historically low output levels in January. But a deal could be hammered out without Iran.

The dollar weakened Wednesday after the Federal Reserve signaled it likely wouldn’t raise interests rates before June. Oil is priced in dollars, so a weaker dollar helps boost prices by making it cheaper for holders of other currencies.

The U.S. stockpile build last week was less than expected, also helping support oil prices. U.S. commercial crude inventories rose by 1.3 million barrels, the Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday. The industry-backed American Petroleum Institute had earlier reported a 1.5 million barrel increase, and analysts polled by Reuters expected 3.4 million.


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