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NEW YORK (AFP) – Crude oil prices in New York soared to a two-month high on Monday as crude stocks declined amid expectations OPEC will decide to cut production again this week, traders said.
New York's main futures contract, light sweet crude for April delivery, ended US $ 1.55 higher than Friday's close (6/3), at $ 47.07 a barrel.
In early trade the contract had jumped to a two-month peak of $ 48.83 a barrel.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for April delivery eased 72 cents to settle at $ 44.13 a barrel on the Intercontinental Exchange.
Analysts said prices were diverging as New York crude had support from recent stock declines in Cushing, Oklahoma, which is the delivery point for oil trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).
"The market is giving respect to OPEC and is budgeting down again," said Phil Flynn at Alaron Trading. "However, after that we still need to consider the demand at a level that will start to deplete supply."
The OPEC cartel, which produces 40% of the world's crude, will hold a meeting on Sunday (8/3) to discuss production issues.
A decision to reduce OPEC oil production is a possibility at the meeting in Vienna, Libya's ambassador to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said Monday (9/3).
"I would not say that we are heading to cut production, but I will not negate it." All the options are open, "Shukri Ghanem said by phone.
"We will evaluate the world stock situation (crude oil), price movements, interpretation of countries' differences and then we will take a decision, but we have not had a decision at this time.
OPEC slashed production at the end of last year by 4.2 million barrels per day, in an effort to curb prices and protect revenue.Oil prices fell from record highs above US $ 147 reached in July 2008, as a sharp slowdown in the world economy triggered by the global financial crisis, has disrupted demand.
Nimit Khamar, an analyst with British brokerage Sucden Financial, said continued concerns about the crisis and its impact on energy demand continued to disrupt oil markets ahead of the OPEC meeting.
"Crude oil prices are likely to be dictated by another production cutout from OPEC countries this week, ahead of weekend meetings, which could push oil prices past $ 50 a barrel," he said.
At the same time, "Anxiety about the financial sector and worries over the global economy weighed on oil prices amid concerns of weak demand," Khamar said. (kpl /