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Oil through the worse?

Opec cut, shale grew, stocks fell, demand soared, prices rose and balance—the oil market's magic word—drew near

The year started with gloom about the never-ending oil glut. It ended with forecasts for surging prices and an imminent rebalancing. That last word—rebalancing—was ubiquitous in 2017. Everyone wanted it. Many predicted it. Opec obsessed about it, and found a metric to measure its progress: OECD stocks. Taming that beast, by bringing the inventory back down to the five-year average, was the group's goal. They had some success. In January, the surplus stood at 318m barrels; in October, 170m. Supply management was a crucial force. For oil markets, 2017 began on 10 December 2016, when Opec and a host of other producers, led by Russia, agreed to cut 1.8m barrels a day from supply. Doubts follo

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