Oil prices fell nearly 1% on Thursday, with losses compounded by expectations that OPEC+ might not deepen production cuts next year as the producer group postponed its policy meeting.
Brent crude futures were down 68 cents, or about 0.8 percent, to $81.28 a barrel by 2024 GMT, after falling as much as 4 percent on Wednesday. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) fell 75 cents, or 1%, to $76.35 a barrel, after falling as much as 5% in the previous session.
Commercial activity of oil was stopped due to the Thanksgiving public holiday in the USA.
In a surprise move Wednesday, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia postponed by four days a ministerial meeting where they were expected to discuss oil production cuts.
OPEC+ sources stated that producers had difficulty in reaching an agreement on production levels before the meeting planned to be held on November 26, and suggested that the dispute was largely linked to African countries. OPEC+ members Angola and Nigeria are said to be targeting higher oil production.
It is thought that Nigeria may be comforted by valuing its long-standing membership in OPEC and its growing ties with Saudi Arabia. However, it may be harder to bridge the gap with Angola, who has been a more pessimistic member of his group since joining in 2007.
Meanwhile, the downside move seems overdone, and the market is likely to recover somewhat next week as traders return from the Thanksgiving holiday.
Question marks over OPEC+ supply come after data showed US crude inventories rose by 8.7 million barrels last week, much more than the 1.16 million that analysts expected.
There is bad news on the demand side. Although the downturn in business activity in the eurozone eased in November, data suggest the bloc’s economy will contract again this quarter as consumers continue to rein in spending, a survey shows.