Oil Prices Edge Higher as Investors Await OPEC Meeting

By Neanda Salvaterra Features Dow Jones Newswires

Oil prices edged higher on Friday in muted trade due to the Thanksgiving holiday, as falls in inventory and disrupted supply to the U.S. supported prices.

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Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose 0.13% to $63.63 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 0.95% at $58.56 a barrel.

The price differential between Brent and WTI has narrowed to about $5 and the U.S. crude grade gained 2% by Friday, "its highest level since early July 2015", said analysts at Commerzbank in a recent note.

Futures on the WTO gauge received a boost due to sharp falls in inventory and the shutdown of TransCanada's Keystone pipeline after an oil spill last week. The pipeline shutdown means that 500,000 fewer barrels of crude per day are being transported from Canada to the U.S, according to Commerzbank.

U.S. stocks decreased by 1.9 million barrels to 457.1 million barrels for the week ended Nov. 17 as refinery activity continued to pick up steam, according to data released Wednesday by the Energy Information Administration.

Investors are now in a wait and see mode ahead a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that is scheduled to meet in Vienna next Thursday.

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The cartel and external producers such as Russia first agreed a year ago to reduce global crude output by nearly 2% from peak October 2016 levels in an effort to rein in a supply glut and boost prices.

The deal is set to expire in March of 2018, but investors are hoping for an extension of the deal through next year.

But some analysts say that investors may be disappointed if they expect OPEC and external producers to announce a complete deal next week.

"We still think prices will consolidate above $60 even if OPEC somewhat disappoints the market," said Paul Horsnell, the head of commodity research at Standard Chartered.

Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock--the benchmark gasoline contract--rose 0.74% to $1.78 a gallon. ICE gasoil changed hands at $567.25 a metric ton, up $2.75 from the previous settlement.

Write to Neanda Salvaterra at neanda.salvaterra@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 24, 2017 07:06 ET (12:06 GMT)