OPEC production rises again to above its output ceiling

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VIENNA (AP) — Production of crude oil across all OPEC countries rose again in July, to above the level the cartel has agreed would be the upper limit — and above the estimated level of global demand.

The cartel said Thursday in a market report that its countries' production rose for a third month in July, by 173,000 daily barrels, to an average of 32.9 million barrels a day.

That puts it above the 32.5 million barrels a day that the group had agreed in November would be their limit. The cartel agreed in May to extend the production limit to March next year in an effort to support market prices. But that intention has sometimes been difficult to put into practice because not all countries were observing the commitment.

July's increase in production also puts output above the estimated global demand for OPEC oil this year of 32.4 million barrels a day.

The price of crude has largely hovered around or below $50 a barrel in recent months, about half what it was in 2014. On Thursday, the benchmark traded in New York was up 33 cents at $49.89 a barrel.

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