MTECHTIPS-Crude settled higher on Tuesday, after reports surfaced that Saudi Arabia supported the idea of extending OPEC-led cuts by an additional six months to the end of the year. On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for May delivery gained 32 cents to settle at $53.40 a barrel, while on London’s Intercontinental Exchange, Brent rose by 19 cents to $55.93 a barrel. Oil prices were on track to the end the session in negative territory, as market participants braced for a fresh batch of inventories data, expected to show a rise in U.S. crude inventories to record highs, but bullish reports concerning an OPEC deal extension beyond June lifted sentiment. Saudi Arabia informed OPEC officials it favoured an extension of the six-month OPEC-led deal to cut supply, which began in January this year, for an additional six months, when the group meets in May, according to the Wall Street Journal. In November last year, OPEC and other producers, including Russia agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd). Production cuts began in January for a period of six-months until June. A fresh batch of inventories data from the American Petroleum Institute at 16:30 EDT, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration at 10:30 EDT on Wednesday is expected to show U.S. crude stockpiles rose by 0.087 million barrels
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