Oil starts the year on a positive note thanks to OPEC’s ongoing efforts to cut production

Oil futures closed lower on Tuesday. The international benchmark for oil prices, Brent crude, was 0.1 percent lower (8 cents) to settle at $66.79 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures declined by 0.2 percent (13 cents) to finish at $60.29 per barrel. The recent price drops were due to the reopening of the Forties pipeline system after a shutdown. This pipeline has a capacity of 450,000 barrels per day.

Having said that, Brent and WTI recorded their highest opening of the year since 2014 as both reached above $60 per barrel on Tuesday. Throughout the year, oil markets have been supported by the efforts of oil exporting countries led by OPEC to cut output. These efforts bore fruit.

Stocks in Asia were mixed on 2018’s first trade

Most of the markets in Asia closed mixed on 2018’s first trading day. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi index just tacked on 0.24 percent, with technology stocks as the leading advancers. The Australian benchmark ASX 200 index traded under the flat line by 0.12 percent. This is after their heavily-weighted financials sub-indexes dropped by 0.64 percent and health care stocks fell by 0.32 percent. Japanese markets were inactive due to a public holiday.

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