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Brent opens week by climbing above $34 a barrel

Brent opens week by climbing above $34 a barrel
Global benchmark rises 1.8 percent at opening, but talks between oil producers are unlikely to result in production cut

Brent crude price opened Monday climbing above $34 per barrel; however it is expected to remain low with high oversupply in the market and with the likelihood that Saudi Arabia will not cut its output.

The international benchmark opened the day at $33.88 a barrel, but gained 1.8 percent shortly to reach as high as $34.50 per barrel at 5:15 a.m. GMT, according to official data.

However, the glut of supply is still high in the market, and is expected to remain so, especially since oil producing countries have failed to reach a consensus in bilateral talks last week to trim their output levels in order to push prices higher.

On Sunday, Venezuela's Minister of Petroleum and Mining Eulogio Del Pino, held a meeting with Saudi Arabia's Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al Naimi. However, the discussions are unlikely to be fruitful since Riyadh lowered its official sales price of crude to Asian and European countries last Thursday to defend its market share -- a signal that it will keep its oil production level unchanged.

Del Pino visited Moscow last week and held talks with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak, and met with Rosneft's head Igor Sechin on Tuesday. He later met with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh on Wednesday and with his counterpart Mohammed Al-Sada from Qatar on Thursday, according to Venezuela's press agency AVN.

Caracas, along with North African members of the organization have long been calling on OPEC members to cut the cartel's production to increase prices to support their weakening economies that are highly dependent on oil prices.

Since China will be celebrating its Lunar New Year holiday this week, macroeconomic data from Asia is expected to not to affect crude prices as much.

However, the oil market will watch the U.S.' Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony on Wednesday since it could have an effect on the value of the U.S. dollar, of which oil prices are indexed to.

The testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress includes economic outlook of the country and the current monetary policies, and it could create high volatility in the market depending on its content.

The U.S.' Energy Information Administration will announce its weekly crude inventories also on Wednesday. Last week, the EIA announced that crude stocks in the country rose by 7.8 million barrels for the week ending Jan. 29.

On Friday, retail sales in the U.S. for the month of January will be announced. The market expectation is a 0.1 percent increase, from the 0.1 percent decline in December 2015.

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