Oil Prices Down As Market Awaits OPEC Decision

By Övunç Kutlu

Crude oil prices were down almost 1 percent at opening on Thursday as the global oil market awaits a decision from OPEC, which will kick off its semi-annual meeting in Vienna at 0900 GMT on Thursday.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $61.07 per barrel at 0615 GMT on Thursday with a 0.8 percent loss. American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $52.31 a barrel at the same time with a 0.7 percent decline.

The organization, together with non-OPEC countries, is expected to lower total crude oil production by at least 1 million barrels per day (mbpd), but this may not be enough to push oil prices higher, according to experts.

Over the next months, developments in oil producing countries – Iran, Venezuela, Nigeria, Angola and Yemen could cause supply disruptions that could force prices higher.

Due to the glut of supply in the global oil market and the rising output from oil producing countries, prices have fallen by around 30 percent since October.

The decline in oil prices on Thursday was a result of stock market sell-offs, as investors’ unease remains high over a trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

After posting a 3 percent decline on Tuesday, major indexes in the New York Stock Exchange ended Wednesday with a fall of more than 1 percent. The Dow Jones fell 100 points, while the S&P 500 posted a 135-point decline, and the Nasdaq ended the day with a 68-point loss.

The FTSE 100 index in the U.K. was down 1.44 percent, while Germany’s DAX 30 index ended Wednesday with a 1.19 percent. In France and Italy, indexes lost 1.36 percent and 1.13 percent, respectively.

The trade dispute between the U.S. and China puts global economic growth and overall oil demand at risk next year, especially for high energy consuming nations, which could bring crude prices down.

OPEC members will meet Friday with non-OPEC producers, such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Mexico, for further cooperation to decide on supply cuts for the global oil market.

This article provided by NewsEdge.