By Kevin Baxter
Oil prices fell back Tuesday, wiping out morning gains, as the intraday volatility engulfing the market continued to be fueled by headlines regarding the forthcoming meeting of OPEC members due to take place Nov. 30.
The January contract for global crude benchmark Brent was down 0.14% at $48.81 a barrel while its U.S. counterpart West Texas Intermediate fell 0.48% to $48 a barrel.
Earlier in the morning trading session, prices for Brent had almost touched $50 a barrel amid positive sentiment from the pre-summit meeting for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna. News of a deal almost being reached spurred investor's hopes that the cartel could reach a consensus on cuts by as early as next Tuesday.
A Nigerian delegate told The Wall Street Journal that sticking points remain, such as discrepancies between independent data on production used by the group and members' own disclosures and Iran's plans to boost output, which has scuttled past efforts to reach a deal.
While many market observers do now believe that there will be an agreement to cut production, others are less sure.
Dominick Chirichella from the New York-based Energy Management Institute believes that there is still only a 50% chance that OPEC will make any meaningful cuts to output. He said in a research note that despite all the "jawboning," no new information has entered the market since last week.
Commerzbank predicts that proposed cuts will come from Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies, on the condition that other members don't ramp up theiroutput. It added that only Iraq was in any position to ramp up supply, making reaching an accord a realistic prospect. However, it also warned market players not to get too carried away.
"No groundbreaking agreement on production caps or cuts should be expected from the OPEC meeting," the German bank said in a note.
The oil price is also been helped as heavy storms in Europe close down much of the continent's wind power generation. Marex Spectron said in a research note that this should drive greater oil consumption until the bad weather subsides.
Tuesday will also see the publication of the U.S. crude oil inventory forecast from the American Petroleum Institute. The past few weeks have witnessed large stock builds and a repeat of this trend could hit prices later Tuesday.
Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock futures -- the benchmark gasoline contract -- rose 2.13% to
$1.43 a gallon, while December diesel tradedat $1.56, up 1.63%.
ICE gasoil futures changed hands at $453.25 a metric ton, up 1.4%.
--Benoit Faucon contributed to this article.
Write to Kevin Baxter at Kevin.Baxter@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 22, 2016 08:41 ET (13:41 GMT)
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