By Dan Strumpf

Oil futures stalled in Asia trading hours Wednesday, as traders await further updates ahead of the upcoming meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries next week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in January traded at $47.93 a barrel at 0321 GMT, down 10 cents, or 0.2%, in the Globex electronic session. January Brent crude on London's ICE Futures exchange fell nine cents to $49.03 a barrel.

Crude prices have been buffeted in recent weeks by changing expectations around OPEC's Nov. 30 meeting in Vienna. Anticipation has been building that the cartel will strike a supply cut aimed at bolstering prices, fueled by optimistic comments from OPEC delegates in recent days.

"Theodds of OPEC getting a deal done continue to rise but the risks remain palpable," analysts at Citigroup wrote in a note to clients. "The outlook for oil prices is really a binary one dependent on the upcoming meeting."

Recent positive comments from Iranian and Iraqi representatives to the cartel have lifted oil prices closer to $50 a barrel. But some sticking points remain, a Nigerian delegate told The Wall Street Journal, including questions over production data and Iran's output plans.

Separately, oil markets could move later Wednesday on updated U.S. inventory data from the Energy Information Administration. A glut of oil in storage around the world has been a key factor in sending oil prices swooning over the last two years. Analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal expect another 800,000-barrel rise in inventories for the week ended Nov. 18.

Earlier, the American Petroleum Institute reported a 1.3 million-barrel decrease in crudeinventories during the week, a 2.7 million-barrel increase in gasoline stocks and a 400,000-barrel decrease in distillate inventories, according to a market participant.

In refined fuel markets, Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock for December--the benchmark gasoline contract--rose 21 points to $1.4119 a gallon, while December diesel traded unchanged at $1.5263.

ICE gasoil for December changed hands at $447.50 a metric ton, up $2.25 from Tuesday's settlement.

Write to Dan Strumpf at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 22, 2016 22:46 ET (03:46 GMT)

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