Oil prices fall due to uncertainty ahead of OPEC+ meet

– Investors are cautious before key two-day OPEC+ meeting although rising hope for COVID-19 vaccine caps further price declines

By Sibel Morrow – November 30, 2020

(Anadolu Agency) – Oil prices slipped on Monday ahead of an OPEC+ meeting in which the oil producer countries were to decide to extend or ease the output cuts to balance the market which struggles with low oil demand caused by the global pandemic.

International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $47.33 per barrel at 0658 GMT for a 1.90% decrease after closing Friday at $48.25 a barrel.

American benchmark West Texas Intermediate was at $44.72 per barrel at the same time for a 1.77 % drop after it ended the previous session at $45.53 a barrel.

After hitting $48 a barrel last week, recording the highest level since March, oil prices declined as the investors are cautious before a key two-day meeting scheduled for Nov. 30 and Dec.1., where OPEC and non-OPEC oil-producing nations, like Russia, a grouping dubbed OPEC+, will decide on its production cut strategy.

The OPEC+ group is now reducing production by 7.7 million bpd and previously agreed to raise this amount further 2 million bpd as of January, 2021.

Although analysts expect OPEC+ to tweak the agreement and maintain its 7.7 million bpd cuts until the end of the first quarter of 2021, frictions within OPEC ranks cause uncertainties, affecting oil prices negatively.

The growing hope that recent breakthroughs on the COVID-19 vaccine would lead to a rapid recovery in global energy demand next year capped further price declines.

Further blocking the price declines, tensions were rising in the Middle East after the killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist and a terrorist attack that caused a fire to break out in a fuel tank at a petroleum.

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