Crude Prices Edge Up

Crude Prices Edge UpCrude Prices Edge Up

Crude oil futures gained on Tuesday ahead of the release of US crude inventory data, which in recent weeks has provided bullish surprises, but a flurry of top-level comments from OPEC members regarding chances of an output cut kept a lid on prices.

International Brent crude oil futures rose 35 cents to $51.81 per barrel from their last close. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures turned positive, gaining 37 cents to $50.89 a barrel, after being negative throughout much of Asia trading, Reuters reported.

The private American Petroleum Institute was due to publish its weekly crude stocks estimates on Tuesday, followed by the official Energy Information Administration data due on Wednesday. A Reuters poll showed that US crude inventories were forecast to have risen last week by a likely 800,000 barrels to 469.5 million barrels. That came after a fall of more than 5 million barrels in the week to Oct. 14.

The verbal jockeying among OPEC’s 14 member states ahead of a Nov. 30 meeting that may lead to a cut in output also continued this week, with Iraq emerging as a possible dissenter and non-member Russia as a potentially compliant collaborator.

Iraq, the second-largest producer in Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said on Sunday it wanted to be exempt from output curbs as it needed more money to fight Islamic State militants. Until there is more clarity on the planned cuts, which OPEC hopes will be coordinated with non-members such as Russia, analysts said oil prices would likely remain range-bound but volatile around current levels.

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