OIL PRICE: ABOVE $62 YET
REUTERS, BLOOMBERG - Oil markets were tepid on Monday as traders were reluctant to take on big new positions ahead of an OPEC meeting at the end of the month, when the producer club is expected to decide whether to continue output cuts aimed at propping up prices.
Brent crude futures LCOc1, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at $62.56 per barrel at 0439 GMT, down 16 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $56.59 a barrel, up 4 cents, or 0.1 percent, from their last settlement.
Traders said they were avoiding taking on large new positions due to uncertainty in markets.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), together with a group of non-OPEC producers led by Russia, has been restraining output since the start of this year in a bid to end a global supply overhang and prop up prices.
The deal to curb output is due to expire in March 2018, but OPEC will meet on Nov. 30 to discuss the outlook for the policy.
OPEC is expected to agree an extension of the cut as storage levels remain high despite recent drawdowns, although there are doubts about the willingness of some participants to continue to restrain output.
"(The) OPEC meeting remains the key sector catalyst into year-end ... The market expectation is for an extension through 2018, created by OPEC comments early this fall ... (but) there is increased risk that OPEC delays the extension decision," U.S. bank Morgan Stanley said on Monday in a note to clients.
Morgan Stanley said that the question over extended cuts "has shifted to non-OPEC participants' willingness to extend, primarily Russia".
Despite this, Greg McKenna of futures brokerage AxiTrader said it was "worth noting data showed more longs added by the speculative community", indicating expectations of rising prices.
In the United States, the number of rigs drilling for new oil production remained unchanged in the week to Nov. 17, at 738, data from oil services firm Baker Hughes showed on Friday.
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API - American Petroleum Institute reported that the first four months of this year saw U.S. petroleum demand average 750 thousand barrels a day above the same period in 2017 despite higher prices, a sign of solid economic activity. April also saw the U.S. produce a record 10.5 million barrels per day (MBD) of oil.
IMF - “Egypt’s growth has continued to accelerate during 2017/18, rising to 5.2 percent in the first half of the year from 4.2 percent in 2016/17. The current account deficit has also declined sharply, reflecting the recovery in tourism and strong growth in remittances, while improved investor confidence has continued to support portfolio inflows. In addition, gross international reserves rose to $44 billion by end-April, equal to 7 months of imports.
BAKER HUGHES A GE - U.S. Rig Count is up 1 rig from last week to 1,046, with oil rigs unchanged at 844, gas rigs up 1 to 200, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 2. Canada Rig Count is up 4 rigs from last week to 83, with oil rigs up 6 to 38 and gas rigs down 2 to 45.
REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $79.57 per barrel at 0310 GMT, up 27 cents, or 0.3 percent from their last close. Brent broke through $80 for the first time since November 2014 on Thursday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $71.62 a barrel, up 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last settlement.