Oil prices rise as U.S. stockpiles drop, OPEC agrees meeting date


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    TOKYO, June 20 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose over 1 percent on
Thursday as official data showed U.S. crude stocks fell more
than expected and as OPEC and other producers finally agreed a
date for a meeting to discuss output cuts.
    Brent crude futures  LCOc1  had risen 82 cents, or 1.3%, to
$62.64 by 0026 GMT. They dropped 0.5% on Wednesday.
    U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures  CLc1  were
up 79 cents, or 1.5%, at $54.55 a barrel. WTI fell 0.26% in the
previous session. 
    After swelling to near two-year highs, U.S. crude stocks
fell by 3.1 million barrels last week, compared with analyst
expectations for a draw of 1.1 million barrels, the Energy
Information Administration (EIA) said.  EIA/S 
    Refined products also posted surprise drawdowns due to a
rise in refining and crude exports, as well as a drop in crude
    Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries agreed to meet on July 1, followed by a meeting with
non-OPEC allies on July 2, after weeks of wrangling over dates. 
    OPEC and its allies will discuss whether to extend a deal on
cutting 1.2 million barrels per day of production that runs out
this month.
    Momentum for an agreement appeared to be building as the
United Arab Emirates' energy minister told Al-Bayan newspaper
that an extension is "logical and reasonable".  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N23Q61L
    "Oil price volatility is likely to persist, but the upcoming
OPEC meeting should serve to provide the markets with a
reasonable backstop and will offer some much-needed respite for
prices," said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard
Markets in Bangkok.
    Expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve could cut interest
rates at its next meeting and confirmation that the chief U.S.
trade negotiator will meet his Chinese counterpart before a
meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi
Jinping next week are also supporting markets.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL2N23Q0ET
    Tensions remain high in the Middle East after last week's
tanker attacks, which boosted oil prices. Fears of a
confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted,
with Washington blaming Tehran, which has denied any role.
    A rocket attack on a site in southern Iraq used by foreign
oil companies, including U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil, left
three people wounded and threatened to further escalate
U.S.-Iran tensions in the region.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N23Q0BB

 (Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Joseph Radford)
 ((aaron.sheldrick@thomsonreuters.com; 81-3-6441-1320; Reuters
Messaging: aaron.sheldrick.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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