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Oil prices have fallen on worries China will cut demand

The downside drag on oil prices of higher USA crude production being cancelled out by the upside risk of Opec and non-Opec production cuts has meant that oil benchmarks have barely budged from the current mid-$50 prices, and have shown little appetite for a climb to $60.

The Azerbaijani Energy Ministry revised its forecast for oil output, following the struck of the first since 2001 deal between OPEC and non-OPEC states to curtail oil output jointly.

"If prices climb to $80 a barrel, U.S. LTO production could grow by 3 million bpd in five years", the IEA said.

Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid al-Falih, who assumed his role last spring and whose country has contributed the largest share of OPEC output curbs, addresses the meeting on Tuesday.

Oil has fluctuated as investors assess whether US output and inventory gains will hurt efforts by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other nations to ease a glut. One of the biggest questions in the oil market is how quickly and how much shale producers will boost output.

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"The United States responds more rapidly to price signals than other producers". Already this year, Total and BP have launched multi-billion dollar deals to expand in Brazil and Mauritania, respectively.

In January Azerbaijan produced 793,900 barrels of oil per day.

At 9:26pm GMT, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) front-month futures contract was down 0.26% or 14 cents at $53.19 per barrel, while the Brent contract for delivery in May was up 0.14% or 8 cents at $55.98 per barrel.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) including Iraq and non-OPEC countries such as Russian Federation past year agreed to cut oil production by some 1.8 million barrels per day in a bid to buoy global oil prices. "There has been two years of substantial decline in investments", Birol said.

"The main drag affecting markets today is the lowering of growth targets by China and tighter regulatory controls which implies less demand for oil and commodities in general", said Jeffrey Halley, senior market strategist at Oanda brokerage in Singapore.

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