Oil up slightly after dip

LONDON, November 21, 2017 – Crude prices were a bit higher on Tuesday, as investors looked ahead to weekly data from the U.S. on stockpiles of crude and refined products to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest energy consumer.

Industry group the American Petroleum Institute is due to release its weekly report at 4:30PM ET (2130GMT) Tuesday. Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday, amid forecasts for an oil-stock drop of around 2.1 million barrels.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures tacked on 6 cents, or about 0.1%, to $56.48 a barrel by 3:35AM ET (0835GMT). Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., rose 24 cents, or around 0.4%, to $62.45 a barrel.

Oil prices ended slightly lower on Monday as reduced expectations for an extension of OPEC-led output curbs combined with fears over rising U.S. output weighed on sentiment.

 

Market players said they were avoiding taking on large new positions ahead of an OPEC meeting at the end of the month, when the producer club is expected to decide whether to continue output cuts aimed at propping up prices.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia, has been restraining output since the start of this year in a bid to end a global supply overhang and prop up prices.

The deal to curb output is due to expire in March 2018, but OPEC will meet on Nov. 30 to discuss the outlook for the policy.

In other energy trading, gasoline futures inched up 0.6 cents, or 0.4%, to $1.747 a gallon, while heating oil gained 0.6 cents to $1.938 a gallon.

Natural gas futures dropped 2.4 cents, or 0.8%, to $3.023 per million British thermal units, as traders reacted to forecasts calling for less heating demand through the end of this month.

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