Oil prices ease in cautious trading ahead of Opec meeting

OilNSE -1.82 % prices dipped on Thursday in tepid trading ahead of a meeting by producer group OPEC that is expected to result in a supply cut aimed at draining a glut that has pulled down crude prices by 30 per cent since October.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $52.57 per barrel at 0109 GMT, down 32 cents, or 0.6 per cent, from their last close.

International Brent crude oil futures were down 17 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at $61.39 per barrel.

Since early October, crude oil has lost around 30 per cent of its value amid surging supply and fears that an economic downturn will erode fuel demand.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is meeting at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday to decide its production policy.

Led by Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s crude oil production has risen by 4.1 per cent since mid-2018, to 33.31 million barrels per day (bpd).

Russia, a major oil producer but not a member of OPEC, will meet with the producer cartel on Friday to discuss production levels, and it is widely expected that a supply cut will be agreed.

“Markets…believe the production cut deal will be in range of 1-1.3 million bpd,” ANZ bank said on Thursday.

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