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Oil prices were little changed on Tuesday after OPEC and allied producers, including Russia, continued deadlocked talks on February output while fuel demand concerns lingered on amid new COVID-19 lockdowns.

Brent crude futures for March rose 8 cents, or 0.2%, to $51.17 a barrel by 0206 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for February was at $47.74 a barrel, up 12 cents, or 0.3%.

Both contracts fell more than 1% on Monday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, failed to agree on February’s oil output levels.

Saudi Arabia argued against pumping more because of new lockdowns while Russia led calls for higher production, citing recovering demand.

OPEC+ will resume talks on Tuesday.

“OPEC+ drama is of course steering the latest oil price downgrade, but the heavier hand is likely the still unknown impact of the new strain on economic activity and travel – both factors that warrant a belated mini-price correction after the winter holidays,” said Louise Dickson, oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy.

Rising tensions in the Middle East supported oil prices.

 

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps on Monday seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in Gulf waters and detained its crew amid tensions between Tehran and Seoul over Iranian funds frozen in South Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions.

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