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Crude oil futures remain stable ahead of OPEC meeting

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Singapore — Crude oil futures were stable in mid-morning trade in Asia Friday ahead of OPEC Joint Monitoring Committee Meeting in Jeddah later Friday.

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At 10:30 am Singapore time (0230 GMT), June ICE Brent crude futures were up 10 cents/b (0.14%) from Thursday's settle at $73.88/b, while the NYMEX May light sweet crude contract was up 11 cents/b (0.16%) at $68.40/b.

Geopolitical tensions and a larger-than-expected draw on US crude stocks helped push prices to fresh highs on Thursday. The NYMEX May WTI futures contract touched an intraday high of $69.35/b and June ICE Brent futures traded as high as $74.75/b on Thursday.

Comments from the Omani oil minister and profit taking pared some of the gains, analysts said.



Omani oil minister Mohammed al-Rumhy told reporters that $65-75/b was a "more realistic number" for the rest of the year. "I don't think we need to worry about a $100 scenario," he added.

"Crude oil prices retreated from above three-year highs, but sentiment remained upbeat amid expectations that major oil producers will confirm continued compliance with OPEC-led production curbs in a meeting slated for Friday," UOB Bank said in a note Friday.

The six-member committee in charge of monitoring the OPEC-led supply cut agreement will meet in Jeddah later Friday.

"Market watchers [would be looking] closely at today's OPEC meeting in Saudi Arabia and monitor Riyadh's potential confirmation of its $80/b oil price goal," OCBC economist Barnabas Gan said.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid al-Falih, who is chairman of the monitoring committee, told reporters: "We're not here to talk price. We're here to look at fundamentals, and that's what this meeting is about."

Price Futures Group energy analyst Phil Flynn said in a note: "We are in a new super cycle in oil and while it can be ugly up and down at times and risky, we are going to continue to move ultimately much higher in price in the coming years."

As of 0230 GMT, the US Dollar Index was up 0.06% at 89.69.

--Avantika Ramesh, avantika.ramesh@spglobal.com
--Edited by E Shailaja Nair, shailaja.nair@spglobal.com