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Here’s what OPEC needs to do to get oil above $60: RBC

  • Helima Croft, RBC's head of commodity strategy, believes the 6 percent rally in crude over the past week has already baked in the prospect of a deal extension when OPEC meets later this week.
  • "I'm a little bit concerned if we just get a nine-month extension without a deeper cut it would kind of be a nonevent for the market," she said.

Crude oil is up nearly 20 percent from its 2017 low earlier this month, but the rally could come to a halt when OPEC meets later this week, according to one well-known energy voice.

The group of oil-producing countries is expected to extend a production cut deal between them and 11 non-OPEC member countries at a meeting on Thursday in Vienna, but RBC Capital Markets' Helima Croft believes that isn't enough to resolve oil's oversupply problems.

"Once we had the Russia and Saudi announcement a week ago, the expectation is that we will get a nine-month extension as opposed to a six-month extension," Croft said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now." "But because that's already priced in, I think the question is are they going to go deeper?"

"I'm a little bit concerned if we just get a nine-month extension without a deeper cut it would kind of be a nonevent for the market," said Croft, RBC's head of commodity strategy.

In other words, Croft believes that the 6 percent rally in crude over the past week has already baked in the prospect of a deal extension.

Instead, the OPEC countries will need to agree to deeper production cuts. "The argument is that you need to go beyond Q1 of 2018 to get inventories below the five-year average," she said. "That was the sort of surprise announcement that came out a week ago, but that puts a lot of pressure on this meeting."

But even without deeper production cuts, Croft believes that oil can still "grind higher" to finish in the low $60s at the end of the year.

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