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Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih. Photo: Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Crude oil prices are up on Monday following weeks of declines after OPEC and allied producers signaled yesterday that they may collectively trim output next year.

Driving the news: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters in Abu Dhabi that the kingdom plans to cut exports by 500,000 barrels per day next month. On Monday, al-Falih said the Saudis and allied producers would need to collectively cut supplies by as much as 1 million barrels per day to rebalance the market, AP reports.

By the numbers: Early this morning, Brent crude was trading at $71.01 and WTI at $60.57.

Why it matters: The weekend meeting of officials from OPEC and Russia (among others) is the latest twist in a volatile period for oil markets.

  • The potential curbs by the so-called OPEC-plus group come just 6 months after the coalition agreed to loosen production constraints.
  • The potential strategy reversal shows how petro-states are now trying to prop up prices while grappling with variables like the uncertainty of Iranian output under sanctions, the U.S. production surge and signs of softening demand.

What's next: A statement yesterday from what's known as the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee lacks any firm commitment to a production cut. But it nonetheless drops hints of what OPEC will discuss at their major meeting next month.

  • It says "new strategies" may be needed to balance the market next year.
  • "The Committee reviewed current oil supply and demand fundamentals and noted that 2019 prospects point to higher supply growth than global requirements, taking into account current uncertainties." (Emphasis added)

The intrigue: Whether Russia will go along.

  • Via the Wall Street Journal, "Russia, the world’s largest producer, sent mixed signals on whether it would pull back on supply — after moving in lockstep on such matters with OPEC for more than two years."

What they're saying: "OPEC+ nations sent a clear signal they are concerned rising supply and weaker demand may keep pushing oil prices down," writes Columbia University energy expert Jason Bordoff in this Bloomberg wrap-up.

  • “While Saudi Arabia is cutting back output in December, the group may wait to see how Iranian supply and other variables play out before it is able to agree on collective action to prop up prices," says Bordoff, who heads Columbia's Center on Global Energy Policy.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Biden reviews U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official told Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Trump supporter found with pipe bombs accused of plot to attack Democrats

Five improvised explosive devices that the FBI says "were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly." Photo: FBI/Justice Department

The FBI believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Bay Area headquarters of Twitter and Facebook were targets of a man facing federal explosives charges, according to a criminal complaint.

Driving the news: Prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers after finding weapons including five pipe bombs, 49 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition following a Jan. 15 search of his Napa County home and auto repair business. His alleged goal was to ensure former President Trump remained in office.

6 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

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