Oil prices increase amid concerns about potential supply cuts

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Oil prices have stopped dropping after a continual sixth-week loss. The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery increased 1.01 percent, while Brent crude for January delivery lost 0.15 percent, during the week ending Nov. 30.

In the previous week ending Nov. 23, WTI and Brent lost 10.7 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively. WTI and Brent settled at 50.42 U.S. dollars and 58.8 dollars per barrel, respectively, at the end of the week.

On Monday, oil prices jumped as U.S. largest online shopping day boosted stock markets and investors anticipated the upcoming meeting by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut output worldwide. WTI was up 1.21 U.S. dollars to settle at 51.63 dollars a barrel, while Brent rose 1.68 dollars to close at 60.48 dollars a barrel.

Oil prices tumbled to the lowest level since last October due to overwhelming fears of oversupply. Yet, crude futures were driven up by the rallying equities market, as Cyber Monday kicked off.

Besides, investors widely expected output cut as OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, plans to hold a meeting on Dec. 6 to reverse falling oil prices amid possible supply surplus and softening demand.

On Tuesday, oil prices dropped slightly ahead of the scheduled OPEC meeting. WTI was down 7 U.S. cents to settle at 51.56 dollars a barrel, while Brent dipped 0.27 dollar to close at 60.21 dollars a barrel.

Investors remained doubtful over potential supply cuts, which tops the agenda of a meeting between Saudi-led OPEC and its allies in Vienna.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called on OPEC not to cut output as he thought oil prices should continue to fall. Analysts said that Saudi Arabia would possibly not confront with Washington over oil prices.

On Wednesday, oil prices dipped as the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recorded a continuous rise in U.S. crude inventories, exceeding market expectations. WTI fell 1.27 U.S. dollars to settle at 50.29 dollars a barrel, while Brent fell 1.72 dollars to close at 58.76 dollars a barrel.

U.S. crude stockpiles went through a 10th straight week of increase, up 3.6 million barrels in the week ending on Nov. 23, piling concerns over supply surplus and sagging demand growth.

According to EIA, U.S. crude oil imports and exports both increased in the week ending Nov. 23. U.S. crude oil imports averaged 8.2 million barrels per day, up by 608,000 barrels per day from the previous week. U.S. crude oil exports averaged 2.4 million barrels per day, up by 473,000 barrels per day from the previous week.

On Thursday, oil prices bounced as Russia President Vladimir Putin said that his country was in contact with OPEC and willing to continue cooperation with the Saudi-led oil cartel. WTI rose 1.16 U.S. dollars to settle at 51.45 dollars a barrel, while Brent rose 0.81 dollar to close at 59.57 dollars a barrel.

On Friday, oil prices extended losses as piling stockpiles further dampened entrenched concerns over supply surplus, offsetting to some extent market expectations on potential output cut from OPEC and its allies. WTI decreased 0.52 U.S. dollar to settle at 50.93 dollars a barrel, while Brent decreased 0.8 dollar to close at 58.71 dollars a barrel.

Both U.S. WTI and Brent, two global crude oil benchmarks, recorded their weakest month in November for over a decade, losing more than 20 percent.

Investors remained worried over the outlook for global oil policy, as Russia's energy minister Alexander Novak said Friday that Russia was expected to keep its oil output in 2019 at the same level as this year.

He did not rule out the possibility that Russia could adjust its future production, yet that would depend on what deal to be reached between OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

Meanwhile, the number of active drilling rigs in the United States decreased by three to 1,076 in the week ending Nov. 30.

The market is closely watching the planned OPEC meeting which is scheduled to hold on Thursday. Attending countries would agree some form of production cut in the meeting.

What's more, the market is focusing on the news of any meeting between officials from China and the United States aiming at seeking solution to the trade tensions after the Group of 20 (G20) Summit, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina from Friday to Saturday.

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