Launceston, Australia — Oil cartel Opec and its allies are taking a multi-layered bet that global oil dynamics will work in their favour by extending their crude oil production cuts until the end of 2018. The group met market expectations by extending the combined 1.8-million barrels per day (bpd) output cuts from their previous expiry of March next year at their meeting in Vienna on Thursday. A commitment to exit the agreement gradually so as not to shock the market also sounded soothing, and it also appeared to give the impression that Opec and its partners are firmly in control of what’s happening in global crude markets. The reality is somewhat different, and for Opec’s extended cuts to have the desired effect of rebalancing the crude market and keeping prices at least above $60 a barrel, other factors beyond their control will have to work in their favour. The risk is that China next year looks more like India this year. India, the world’s third-largest crude importer, has seen...

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