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Brent and West Texas Intermediate were little changed as investors weighed the odds of a production cut from OPEC this week.
Iran may propose that OPEC cut its output target by as much as 1 million barrels a day, Mehr News reported. Hedge funds have turned less bullish on oil in the absence of any clear signal from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries that it will act to bolster prices. The 20 analysts surveyed last week by Bloomberg are divided, with half predicting a cut and the rest no action.
"Whether they are going to cut is up in the air," said Paul Crovo, a Philadelphia-based oil analyst at PNC Capital Advisors. "I won't make big bets either way. There is a lot of expectation that OPEC does need to cut. That's the perception, and it's going to drive the market."
Brent for January settlement added 6 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $80.42 a barrel at 10:41 a.m. New York time on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. Futures closed at $80.36 on Nov. 21, the highest since Nov. 12. The volume of all futures was 49 percent below the 100-day average.
WTI for January delivery rose 24 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $76.75 barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Volume was about 43 percent below the 100-day average. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $3.71 to WTI.
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