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Oil hits $40 as traders await ECB meeting

London Stock ExchangeMon close: A rally in oil prices raised hopes of a recovery that could see it stabilise at around $50 a barrel.

Brent crude reached $40.15 per barrel in late afternoon trade, up 3.5% on the day after peaking at $41.04, its highest level since early December. West Texas Intermediate jumped 3.5% to $37.26 per barrel.

Ecuador said it was holding a meeting of Latin American crude producers as OPEC sought a higher anchor price for oil.

There were also smaller than expected stockpiles in the US. The oil price is now more than 50% higher than a 12-year low of $27.1 on 20 January. Some OPEC producers are looking to stabilise the price at about $50 a barrel.

The increase in the oil price could not prevent London stocks slipping as investors played it safe ahead of the European Central Bank‘s policy decision on Thursday.

Economists expect the ECB to cut one of its rates and announce a six-month extension to the quantitative easing programme.


Old Mutual jumped amid reports that it was planning to split into numerous standalone companies, which could lead to a takeover battle for some of its biggest operations. The company responded to reports by saying that “all options for the strategic review are being considered, but no decision has yet been made”.

Metro Bank debuted on the market valued at £1.6 billion.The shares traded up 7.5% on the first day of “grey market” trading increasing from £20 per share to £21.50. The public can trade shares from Thursday.

The FTSE 100 closed down 0.34% at 6,178.13.

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