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Title: Oil climbs as investors focus on looming OPEC+ decision

Dec 02, 2021 07:34AM ET

By: AnalysisWatch

Oil prices rose on Thursday as investors adjusted positions ahead of an OPEC+ decision on supply policy, although gains were capped by fears that the Omicron coronavirus variant could hit fuel demand.

At 1215 GMT, Brent crude futures were up 35 cents, or 0.5%, at $69.22 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 29 cents, or 0.4%, at $65.86.

Global oil prices have lost more than $10 a barrel since last Thursday, when the Omicron news first shocked investors.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, known collectively as OPEC+, are likely to decide on Thursday whether to put more oil on the market as planned or cut supply.

The meeting is due to start at 1300 GMT.

Since August, the group has increased global supply by 400 000 barrels per day (bpd), gradually phasing out record cuts agreed in 2020.

However, the new coronavirus variant has complicated the decision-making process.

Sources within OPEC+ and elsewhere had differing views on the likely outcome, ranging from a pause in the planned January increase to the already agreed 400,000 bpd increase to an expected cut in production.

Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said he believed the slump in oil prices and uncertainties surrounding Omicron would prompt OPEC+ to temporarily halt production increases.

Oil market gains were capped on Thursday when weekly US inventory data showed US crude stocks fell less than expected last week, while gasoline and distillate stocks rose much more than expected amid weaker demand.

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