By Dan Strumpf
Oil futures eased in early Asia trading Wednesday, as traders took profits following the biggest rally in months.
Focus in the market remains on an upcoming meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries scheduled for Nov. 30, with bets around the outcome driving moves in prices over the last few weeks.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in December traded at $45.58 a barrel, down $0.23, or 0.6%, in the Globex electronic session. January Brent crude on London's ICE Futures exchange fell 15 cents, or 0.3%, to $46.80 a barrel.
Futures declined on the heels of a sharp rally during New York trading hours, which was fueled by rising expectations of an OPEC deal at its upcoming meeting. The 2.5% gain in Nymex crude prices marked their biggest one-day gain since April, while Brent saw its biggest one-session advance since September.
"Given the lack of data points, [oil prices] are just trading around OPEC news," said Nelson Wang, oil and gas analyst at CLSA. "They cannot afford not to cut ... they will come up with something at the meeting later this month."
OPEC members have proposed trimming collective output to between 32.5 million and 33 million barrels a day. The cartel pumped a record 33.83 million barrels a day in October.
The latest diplomatic push is expected later this week, with an upcoming meeting planned between Saudi Arabia's energy minister and his Russian counterpart, according to people familiar with the matter.
Traders are also looking ahead to upcoming data on U.S. inventories from the Energy Information Administration, due at 10:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday. That data is expected to show inventoriesrising 1.1 million barrels in the week ended Nov. 11, according to a survey of analysts by The Wall Street Journal. Refinery use is seen rising 0.8% on average to 87.9% of capacity.
The American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday that oil stockpiles last week rose 3.7 million barrels. Gasoline stocks fell 155,000 barrels, while distillate stocks rose 3 million barrels, according to a market participant.
In refined fuel markets, Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock for December--the benchmark gasoline contract--rose 55 points to $1.3405 a gallon, while December diesel traded at $1.4389, 50 points lower.
ICE gasoil for December changed hands at $421.25 a metric ton, up $4.25 from Tuesday's settlement.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 15, 2016 23:29 ET (04:29 GMT)
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