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Oil trades near US$50 as Opec chief seeks to resolve output plan
[HONG KONG] Oil traded near US$50 a barrel with Opec Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo set to visit Baghdad Tuesday for talks aimed at resolving a deal on output after Iraq said it should be exempt from planned cuts.
Futures were little changed in New York after falling 0.7 per cent Monday. Mr Barkindo will meet with the prime minister and oil minister, according to people familiar with the matter, after Iraq said Sunday it should be excluded from the deal due to conflict with Islamic militants.
US crude stockpiles rose last week, a Bloomberg survey shows before government data Wednesday.
Oil has fluctuated near US$50 a barrel amid uncertainty about whether the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries can implement an accord to reduce oil output when they gather at an official meeting in November.
A committee will meet later this month to try to resolve differences over how much individual members should pump.
"Oil is in a holding pattern, waiting to see the outcome of the November meeting," said David Lennox, a resources analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney.
"If Opec doesn't implement the production cuts, the oil price will probably retreat back toward the US$45 a barrel level."
West Texas Intermediate for December delivery was at US$50.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 9 US cents, at 8.52 am in Hong Kong. Prices slid 33 US cents to close at US$50.52 on Monday. Total volume traded was about 55 per cent below the 100-day average.
Brent for December settlement was 8 US cents lower at US$51.38 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
The contract dropped 32 US cents, or 0.6 per cent, to US$51.46 on Monday. The global benchmark crude was at a premium of 95 US cents to WTI.