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Oil prices rose in Asian trade

SINGAPORE, March 9 – Oil prices rose in Asian trade on Monday on expectations the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries will further cut production.

New York\\\’s main futures contract, light sweet crude for April delivery, climbed 83 cents to 46.35 dollars a barrel in afternoon trade.

Brent North Sea crude for April rose 55 cents to 45.40.

"The rise in prices is primarily due to expectations or speculation that OPEC will make further production cuts when they meet this coming Sunday," said Victor Shum, senior principal at energy consultancy Purvin and Gertz in Singapore.

The oil cartel is due to meet March 15 in Vienna to discuss further output cuts.

"There\\\’s a lot of credence given to OPEC cuts," said John Kilduff, an energy analyst at MF Global.

However, Shum said the price rise could prompt OPEC to rethink slashing output.

"It is still not clear that OPEC will make further cuts given the strength of oil prices shown today. If OPEC makes cuts, it might be smaller than expected," Shum said.

OPEC, which pumps 40 percent of the world\\\’s oil, slashed output late last year by 4.2 million barrels per day in a bid to reverse tumbling prices and protect its revenues.

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"We all want to see the global economy back on its feet as quickly as possible," OPEC chief Abdalla Salem El-Badri said last week.

But "oil prices need to be at levels to help sustain economic growth by supporting longer-term energy industry investments across the board," he added.

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