Oil slips 1% on concerns over delayed OPEC+ meeting

By Nia Williams

(Reuters) -Oil prices dipped about 1% on Thursday, extending losses on expectations that OPEC+ might not deepen output cuts next year after the producer group postponed its policy meeting.

Brent crude futures were down 68 cents, or about 0.8%, at $81.28 a barrel by 2024 GMT after falling as much as 4% on Wednesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude slid 75 cents, or 1%, to $76.35 after dropping as much as 5% in the previous session.

Trading activity was muted because of the U.S. Thanksgiving public holiday.

In a surprise move on Wednesday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia delayed a ministerial meeting at which they were expected to discuss oil output cuts to Nov. 30.

Producers were struggling to agree on output levels ahead of the meeting originally set for Nov. 26, OPEC+ sources said, suggesting that the disagreement was largely linked to African nations.

OPEC+ members Angola and Nigeria are aiming for higher oil output, officials told Reuters on Thursday.

“We think Nigeria can be assuaged as the leadership values its longstanding OPEC membership and improving ties with Saudi Arabia,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Helima Croft.

“However, it may be more difficult to bridge the gap with Angola, which has been a moodier member of the producer group since it joined in 2007.”

The downside move looked overdone and the market will likely rally somewhat next week once traders return from the Thanksgiving holiday, said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

The questions over OPEC+ supply come as data showed that U.S. crude stocks jumped by 8.7 million barrels last week, much more than the 1.16 million build analysts had expected. [EIA/S]

On the demand side, there was more bleak news. Though a survey showed the downturn in euro zone business activity eased in November, data suggested the bloc’s economy will contract again this quarter as consumers continue to rein in spending.

(Reporting by Nia Williams in British Columbia, Natalie Grover in London, Arathy Somasekhar in Houston and Andrew Hayley in BeijingEditing by Mark Potter, David Goodman, Alexandra Hudson, Marguerita Choy and Jonathan Oatis)