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Oil rises ahead of key Opec meeting

14 June 2012, 09:23

 Singapore - Oil edged higher in Asian trade on Thursday amid speculation that Opec will not significantly alter its output levels at a crucial meeting later in the day, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, was up 20 cents at $82.82 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for July delivery gained 42c to $97.55 in the afternoon.

"There is some expectation that (Opec) output will not change too much...but investors are sitting back and waiting to see how the meeting turns out," said Nick Trevethan, senior commodities strategist at ANZ Research in Singapore.

Ministers of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies about one third of global crude, are to meet in Vienna later Thursday to discuss production quotas.

Crude prices have plunged about 25% since March and Opec members are divided over how the cartel should address the situation.

Opec members Ecuador and Libya expressed concern on Wednesday that the cartel was pumping too much oil and therefore depressing prices, but shied away from calling for lower output.

Hawkish nations Venezuela and Iran have called for the cartel to trim output to bolster the market - but kingpin Saudi Arabia is concerned over the global economy and has reportedly urged greater production.

"Price hawks in the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are fretting that slowing economic growth will send crude - already off $30 since March - plummeting further," said Phillip Futures in a market commentary.


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