Brent Crude Tops $50 a Barrel for First Time Since November

Supply disruptions pushing prices higher

by Jenny W. Hsu
Market Watch

HONG KONG — International oil prices rose to their highest levels in six months on Thursday, as the recent decline in U.S. crude stocks raised expectations for a tightening in the market amid lower global supply.

Brent LCON6, +0.70% , the international benchmark for oil, rose 30 cents to $50.04 a barrel in morning Asian trade, its highest point since the beginning of November. U.S. oil prices traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange CLN6, +0.61% rose 29 cents to $49.85 a barrel.

Persistent oversupply has kept prices well below highs of $100 a barrel reached two years ago. The price collapse has prompted energy companies to withhold investment — especially in the upstream sector — resulting in a slowdown in global output growth. Ongoing supply disruptions in North America and Africa, as well as dwindling output from Latin America, have also pushed prices higher.

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