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Futures Movers: U.S. oil prices end lower, Brent little changed as traders await OPEC+ decision

Oil futures made modest moves on Tuesday, with the U.S. benchmark ending a bit lower and global prices little changed, as traders awaited a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies on Thursday amid rising pressure to boost output more than planned.

The market should be supported because of talk that some OPEC+ members, who say they don’t have the capacity to raise output, will “not support calls for increased production,” analysts at Zaner wrote in Tuesday’s report.

OPEC+ members appear to have fallen short of meeting existing production increases. A Reuters survey published Monday found that members of OPEC pumped 27.5 million barrels a day in October. That’s up just 190,000 barrels a day from the previous month and short of the 254,000 barrel-a-day rise permitted under the current OPEC+ agreement.

Still, “Saudi Arabia and Iraq do have the capacity to raise output,” the analysts at Zaner said.

West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery
CL00,
-0.56%

CLZ21,
-0.56%

fell 14 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $83.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after posting gains in each of the previous three sessions. The U.S. benchmark traded at a seven-year high last week. January Brent crude
BRN00,
-0.28%

BRNF22,
-0.28%
,
the global benchmark, added a penny to settle at $84.72 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

“Despite growing pressure from the major oil consuming countries — following the lead of the U.S. and India, Japan is now also calling for oil production to be expanded to a greater extent — OPEC+ has so far shown no signs that it is willing to do so,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank, in a note.

See: OPEC+ needs to ‘thread the needle’ between higher oil prices and losing market share

OPEC+ is scheduled to meet Thursday. The group had previously agreed to unwind production cuts it put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, lifting output in monthly increments of 400,000 barrels a day.

Also see: Biden will attack methane by several means after groups say that’s the surest way to keep to 1.5 degrees warming

Meanwhile, chart watchers said the outlook for crude remains positive.

“Crude oil remains in an uptrend. The next key levels to watch for support [for WTI] are the 50-week moving average ($64.12), followed by the recent low ($62.05) and the 200-week moving average ($56.65),” said Sameer Samana, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute in a note (see chart below). “Resistance will likely be found at psychologically-important round numbers ($90, $100) until we get to the 2014 high ($107.95).”

Wells Fargo Investment Institute

Weekly data on U.S. petroleum supplies will be released by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday. The American Petroleum Institute, a trade group, will release its own report late Tuesday.

On average, analysts expect the EIA to report a climb of 300,000 barrels for crude inventories as of Oct. 29, according to a survey conducted by S&P Global Platts. They also forecast weekly supply declines of 900,000 barrels for gasoline and 1.5 million barrels for distillates.

Read MarketWatch’s special report on the Western drought

On Nymex Tuesday, December gasoline
RBZ21,
+1.27%

tacked on 1.7% to $2.45 a gallon and December heating oil
HOZ21,
-0.15%

rose 0.2% to $2.508 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures settled higher Tuesday, rebounding from a more than 4% loss Monday as traders continued to monitor weather forecasts in an effort to gauge demand for the winter heating season.

December natural gas
NGZ21,
+6.02%

tacked on 6.9% to $5.542 per million British thermal units.

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