Brent Makes Moderate Gains Ahead Of OPEC Meeting
Brent crude oil made its way higher on Friday after data out on Thursday showed that the U.S. economy was continuing to stabilize. The commodity traded at $79.55 at 6:50 GMT as investors kept an eye on OPEC for any indication that the cartel will cut its output at next week’s meeting.
U.S. data out on Thursday was promising for markets and suggested that the No. 1 oil consuming nation’s appetite may continue to grow. The nation’s housing sector seemed to be improving, something that the Federal Reserve has expressed concern about in the past. Home resales climbed to their highest level since September 2013 to 5.26 million units, an encouraging sign for the sector.
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Also boosting Brent prices was talk from the ongoing negotiations between Iran and world powers, where an agreement by the November 24 deadline looks unlikely. The two sides remained at odds over several key issues relating to Tehran’s nuclear capabilities, though officials at the meeting have said that if the talks continue to be productive, they may extend the deadline to some time in March.
The main driver for crude prices remained OPEC, though. The cartel’s upcoming meeting will be a major turning point for Brent as the commodity is unlikely to break out of its downward spiral unless the group decides to make a supply cut.
CNBC reported that Venezuela continued to call for a production cut this week, with Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez saying the nation would reduce its own output if the cartel agreed to make a cut. Venezuela, along with several other nations like Ecuador and Libya, are calling for a production cut in order to boost prices. However, Saudi Arabian officials have made several comments in the lead up to Monday’s meeting suggesting that the kingdom is looking to allow low prices to persist.
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