SINGAPORE: Oil prices rebounded Wednesday as traders jockey for position ahead of a key producers’ meeting this week aimed at cutting output to support coronavirus-hit energy markets.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was up 5.7% to US$24.98 a barrel in morning Asian trade.
A barrel of Brent, the international benchmark, was changing hands at US$32.69 a barrel, up 2.5%.
The rise was also in part driven by traders buying at bargain prices, following sharp falls overnight, analysts said.
Producers from the Opec cartel and non-member countries are scheduled to meet via video conference on Thursday, with output cuts high on the agenda to combat massive oversupply.
Markets have been hammered in recent weeks as travel restrictions and lockdowns due to the virus pandemic strangle demand, and Russia and Saudi Arabia engage in a brutal price war.
Riyadh and Moscow are participating in this week’s meeting – raising hopes they may draw a line under their dispute and agree to cut output.
AxiCorp global market strategist Stephen Innes said current figures being discussed point to a cut of 10 million barrels per day for the Opec-led alliance – but cautioned this may not be enough as the virus saps global demand.
“With millions of jobs and the stability of the global economy at risk, someone needs to compromise, or it will leave the industry in tatters,” he warned.
Analysts said attention will also be on whether the United States – a key producer of shale oil – will join the output cut.
But some observers believe a fall in America’s crude output forecast released Tuesday could be enough for Riyadh and Moscow.
The US Energy Information Administration said it predicts production to average 11.76 million barrels a day in 2020, down from a previous forecast of 12.99 million, Bloomberg News reported.