Not so fast: Oil prices plummet back down ahead of Opec's meeting

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Russian Oil Stops Flowing To Western Europe Thru Belarus
Opec and non-Opec members will meet in Russia on Monday (Source: Getty)

Crude prices have tumbled this afternoon ahead of a meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) on Monday.

Global benchmark Brent crude was trading down 1.7 per cent at $48.46 per barrel. Meanwhile, the US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices were down 1.79 per cent at $46.08 per barrel.

The steep sell-off comes a day after Brent briefly traded above $50 a barrel for the first time in weeks.

Opec and non-Opec members involved in a deal to cut production by 1.8m barrels per day (bpd) until March 2018 will meet in Russia on Monday.

Investors are waiting to see if Opec will address the rising production from Nigeria and Libya. The two countries are exempt from Opec's production cuts, but they have ramped up production more than expected and diluted Opec's efforts to rebalance the market.

Opec's overall output increased in May and June due to the rise in production from Nigeria and Libya, as well as slipping compliance among members.

An industry report by Petro-Logistics also added pressure to oil prices today as it forecast a rise in Opec's production for July as well.

The US Baker Hughes oil rig count published later today will likely push the price of oil one way or the other.

Dennis de Jong, managing director at UFX.com, said:

Today’s US Baker Hughes weekly oil rig count could spell further bad news for those who are bullish on oil prices, particularly if the count beats its current two-year high.

Read more: These three scenarios show how we could hit peak oil demand as soon as 2025

De Jong noted that prices have failed to rise consistently beyond the $50 mark.

"It would likely take a further commitment from a major Opec member to achieve that, and following this week’s meeting of key producers in Russia, rumours abound that the Saudis may make such a move," he said.

"However, a Saudi cut would not be unilateral, and unless the likes of Nigeria and Libya can be brought on board, there are few reasons to believe a significant rally is on the cards in the coming months."

Read more: Opec compliance with supply cuts slips to a six-month low

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