(C) Reuters Oil Market Counts Down to Critical OPEC+ Meet With WTI Near $61
(Bloomberg) — Oil traded near $61 a barrel as traders waited for a critical OPEC+ production-setting meeting later Thursday with no clear steer as to how much supply the cartel will bring back to a fast-tightening market.
West Texas Intermediate fell 0.4% after rising 2.6% Wednesday, when prices got a lift from a slump in U.S. fuel inventories. Group leaders Saudi Arabia and Russia held talks Wednesday seeking common ground on output as Riyadh urges caution but Moscow seeks to raise supply, according to a delegate.
See also: OPEC+ Silence Has Oil Market Second-Guessing Next Move
Crude has surged this year after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies slashed collective output to drive a rebalancing of the pandemic-roiled market. The aggressive supply management has helped to drain inventories, while worldwide demand recovers with the roll-out of vaccines. That’s spurred widespread expectations that the single largest actor in the global energy market will now loosen the taps.
Veteran OPEC-watchers still expect some extra barrels from the group, and there’s little chance output will be held at current levels. There are two elements to its debate: first, will the cartel proceed with a 500,000 barrel-a-day collective output hike in April? And second, how will Saudi Arabia phase out the extra cut of 1 million barrels a day it’s been making voluntarily?
The backdrop to the high-stakes meeting is a steady procession of indicators that oil consumption is on the mend. Among recent figures, data showed U.S. commutes are slowly returning to normal as states reopen, while the rate at which people are staying home fell to the lowest since Nov. 12.
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Oil Market Counts Down to Critical OPEC+ Meet With WTI Near $61
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