Monday, November 28, 2016

Oil Prices Dip on Scepticism Ahead of OPEC Meeting
A pump jack stands idle in Dewitt County, Texas January 13, 2016. REUTERS/Anna Driver

By Henning Gloystein | SINGAPORE

Oil prices dipped on Tuesday on doubts that producer cartel OPEC will be able to hammer out a meaningful output cut during a meeting on Wednesday aimed at reining in a global supply overhang and propping up prices.

International Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were trading at $47.99 per barrel at 0305 GMT, down 25 cents, or 0.5 percent, from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures CLc1 were down 23 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $46.85 a barrel.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is meeting officially in Vienna on Wednesday to discuss a planned production cut in an effort to curb overproduction that has dogged markets and more than halved prices since 2014.

With a high degree of uncertainty going into the last 24 hours before the meeting, oil price volatility is expected to be high.

"I still think they need to do a deal even though my confidence has dropped back to coin toss levels," said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at Australian brokerage AxiTrader.

Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA brokerage in Singapore said he expected "intra-day volatility to ratchet higher again into tomorrow, with price action being entirely headline driven."

There remains disagreement among OPEC-members over which producers should cut by how much, and a plan for non-OPEC oil giant Russia to participate has so far also failed.

Beyond OPEC's production policy, oil demand remains firm.

South Korea's crude imports rose 3.9 percent in the third quarter of 2016 from a year earlier, as oil consumption climbed thanks to low oil prices.

The world's fifth-largest crude importer shipped in 270.4 million barrels of crude oil in the July-September period, or 2.94 million barrels per day (bpd), compared with 260.3 million barrels in the same period in 2015, its energy ministry said on Tuesday in a statement.

(Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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