Oil trade down ahead of OPEC Meeting image

Oil traded near the lowest close in eight months in New York before OPEC meets today to discuss potential changes to its production quotas.

Also Crude-oil futures were choppy in Asia Thursday, ahead of a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna.

In London trade, Brent North Sea crude for July settled at $US97.13, down just one US cent and hitting a fresh low since late January.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is scheduled to hold its quarterly meeting Thursday against a backdrop of a 24 percent crude price decline over the last month or so. Some of the group’s 12 members, such as Iran and Venezuela, will likely call on the cartel to cut output in a bid to boost prices.

However analysts say they don’t expect OPEC to cut supplies unless global economic growth shows signs of a sharper slowdown.

“People are starting to figure in that there’s not going to be a change in production by OPEC, and that’s dragging down the crude right now,” said Carl Larry, president of trading-advisory firm Oil Outlooks and Opinions.

OPEC’s production was 31.582 million barrels a day in May, the group said this week. That’s nearly 1.6 million barrels a day more than the group’s total production limit agreed upon in December.