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Crude oil futures end higher on Thursday

Crude oil futures ended higher on Thursday buoyed by data showing a fall in February Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) output to its lowest in nearly four years. OPEC's crude production from edged down by 60,000 barrels a day to 30.8 million barrels a day in February from a month earlier. The output level was the lowest since March 2015, when Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Congo had yet to join OPEC-though at the time, Qatar was still a member. Among the 11 members with quotas under the output cut agreement that began at the start of the year, compliance stood at 79%, with Saudi Arabia slashing output to 10.15 million barrels a day in February- its lowest since May 2018.

Benchmark crude oil futures for April surged 44 cents or 0.8 percent to settle at $56.66 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. May Brent crude gained 31 cents or 0.5 percent to settle at $66.30 a barrel on London's Intercontinental Exchange.

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