Oil prices fell on Tuesday ahead of the OPEC+ meeting that will start on Wednesday when oil-producing countries are expected to determine whether to prolong or ease production cuts to balance the market that is still grappling with low oil demand amid rising virus cases in Europe.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $64.88 per barrel at 0631 GMT for a 0.06% decrease after closing Monday at $64.92 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $61.52 per barrel at the same time for a 0.06 % drop after it ended the previous session at $61.56 a barrel.
Having recorded 13-month-highs by hitting over $71 a barrel soon after the previous OPEC+ meeting when major oil producers agreed to maintain the production levels in April, oil prices have seen a declining trend in the last two weeks due to renewed coronavirus cases in European countries, which have been followed by more restrictions and/or lockdowns.
Investors are cautious before a decision is taken at the key two-day meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC oil-producing nations, like Russia, a grouping dubbed OPEC+, on their production cut strategy for May.
The market expectation is a further extension of production cuts into May in keeping with the oil cartel’s cautious strategy to balance the market.
The OPEC+ group is currently reducing production to 7.9 million barrels per day.
The freeing of the 400-meter-long ship (1,312-foot), Ever Given, in the Suez Canal, which blocked almost 30 oil tankers from making transit, initially increased oil prices but prices retreated and concerns were outweighed about the stuck ship over low oil demand from increasing coronavirus cases.
By Sibel Morrow