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Oil prices down ahead producers’ meeting, US data


Singapore : Oil prices eased in Asia today with analysts expecting volatility in the run up to a producers’ meeting next week, while traders are also awaiting the release of US stockpiles data.

The commodity plunged last week on supply glut worries but bounced slightly yesterday after OPEC member Venezuela said a deal to limit output was close. Unrest in key producers Libya and Nigeria also raised the prospect their exports would be hit.

Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro said Sunday that participants in producer talks by the 14-nation OPEC cartel and Russia in Algeria from September 26-28 are working on a deal.

But some analysts said that in the absence of any firm agreement, prices will continue to swing.

At around 0855 IST, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell 22 cents to USD 43.08 and Brent dipped 14 cents to USD 45.81.

“A big part of the rally (yesterday) was the hope that a deal could be getting closer with agreement at the Algiers meeting potentially leading to another meeting,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at Australia-based retail forex broker AxiTrader.

“But without any solid progress or agreement from all the oil producing countries, volatility and uncertain outlook continues.”

Crude prices have been dogged by a stubborn supply glut since mid-2014, with prices hitting near 13-year lows in February.

A previous Saudi-led attempt to freeze output fell apart in April when Iran, which had just emerged from years of Western nuclear-linked sanctions, refused to take part.

CMC Markets Singapore analyst Margaret Yang said traders are also “waiting for this week’s (US) crude inventory data to find clues of any changes of the supply-demand relationship”.

The US energy department is due to release the stockpiles figures tomorrow.

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