Oil prices climb ahead of OPEC meeting

Oil prices rose on Monday ahead of an OPEC meeting this week and as investors assessed the impact of a trade dispute between the United States and China.

U.S. light crude oil CLc1 hit a two-month low of $63.59 a barrel but then recovered strongly to trade at $65.40, up 34 cents, by 1350 GMT. Brent LCOc1 to a high of $74.59 a barrel and was trading at $74.50, up $1.06, by 1350 GMT.

Brent hit a 3-1/2-year high above $80 a barrel in May but has since fallen on reports that top suppliers Saudi Arabia and Russia will increase production.

“Oil prices are reversing this morning’s bout of weakness as bottom pickers enter the fray ahead of this week’s crucial OPEC/non-OPEC meeting,” said Stephen Brennock, analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, de facto led by Saudi Arabia, and some allies including Russia have been withholding output since the start of 2017.

They will meet in Vienna on June 22 to decide forward production policy, with Russia and Saudi Arabia pushing for higher output.

All oil market eyes are now focused on OPEC, Commerzbank commodities analyst Carsten Fritsch said:

“That production will be increased in the second half of the year is considered certain – the only question is by how much.”