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Oil Prices Jump over 20%

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Oil futures settled at a more than two-week high on Wednesday, buoyed by growing expectations that major oil producers may come to an agreement on output cuts, as U.S. government data showed a dip in domestic crude production. March West Texas Intermediate crude rose 85 cents, or 2.7%, to $32.33 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the highest settlement for a most-active contract since Jan. 8. Prices were trading around $30.69 before the release of the production data. March Brent crude  the global oil benchmark, jumped $1.30, or 4.1%, to $33.10 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange.

Gains accelerated after Reuters reported that the head of Russia’s state-owned oil pipeline company Transneft said Russian officials have decided that they should take to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries about oil output cuts. WTI prices had climbed 4% on Tuesday, buoyed by talk of potential cooperation among oil producers, but many analysts are skeptical of any agreement to cut output.