Oil producers stick with existing output plan

As crude oil prices continue to rise, key producers are sticking to the existing output plan through July.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, released a statement following an online meeting of what's known as OPEC Plus.

The group represents core members and allied exporters including Russia. It decided in April to gradually increase production through July after a slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Vaccination programs and more positive economic forecasts are pushing prices of crude oil futures higher.

OPEC Plus plans to meet on July 1 to discuss the output for August and after.

Members are keeping a close watch on the spread of new coronavirus variants. They are also interested in the possible revival of a nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers.

That could pave the way for the lifting of economic sanctions on the oil-producing nation.

Crude oil prices are on the up as investors decide supply is unlikely to increase significantly. Higher prices are expected to continue.