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Oil Prices Fall as OPEC Postpones Output Decision

Investing.com - Oil prices slipped on Friday morning in Asia, after the meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna failed to reach a final decision on cutting output.

Crude Oil WTI Futures for January delivery dropped 0.43% to $51.27 per barrel at 10:41 PM ET (02:41 GMT) on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while London’s Intercontinental Exchange showed that Brent Oil Futures for February delivery dipped 1.08% to $59.66 a barrel.

The OPEC meeting on Thursday failed to announce any output decision, as the oil producers delayed a decision to Friday following a discussion with Russia.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak flew back to St Petersburg to meet with President Vladimir Putin, and he is expected to return to Vienna on Friday to discuss an output decision with OPEC for the next six months.

Crude oil dived more than 3% and Brent crude dropped about 3.5% after the announcement on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told journalists before the OPEC meeting that possible output cuts could range from 0.5 to 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd).

“We are beginning to witness the outline of the next iteration of production cuts, with OPEC conforming to cut its own production by around 1 million barrels per day with the cartel lobbying non-OPEC members to contribute more,” Japanese bank MUFG told Reuters.

Uncertainties over the OPEC meeting outcome are further complicated by Iran as it seeks an exemption to output cuts. thanks to U.S. crude sanctions, while Qatar said it would leave the cartel in January.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude inventories fell by 7.3 million barrels to 443.2 million barrels as of Nov. 30 from last week, the first drop in 11 weeks, according to the Energy Information Administration on Thursday. The country has become a net exporter of oil for the first time in 75 years, according to the New York Times.

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