Oil prices stepped backward in Asia on Thursday; however, trading was wary on signs the OPEC cartel is split ahead of a meeting on whether to hold or slit its high output levels.
The US benchmark West Texas Intermediate shut before reaching $40 a barrel for the first time after August as statistics showed a raise in US commercial stockpiles and manufacturing adding to stress related to a long-running provision surplus.
Now, focus is on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting in Vienna Friday. According to analysts, the 12 members seem to get split, with Gulf partners and Saudi Arabia at odds with others pushing for a reduction in outcome in a bid to increase prices.
HIS Energy said Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates would be having potent influence on the tone of the meeting as they account for up to half of OPEC’s 31.5 million barrels outcome for each day.
“Without the Gulf group, there can be no effective OPEC agreement,” HIS Energy stated in a report ahead of Friday’s meeting.