Oil prices ease in cautious trading ahead of OPEC meeting

Oil prices skid amid global stock market slump, swelling US supply

Trump asks OPEC not to cut production

Oil fell on Wednesday as a swelling supply glut and signs of an economic slowdown weighed on crude prices a day ahead of an OPEC meeting at which the producer club is expected to decide supply cuts. The worldwide benchmark, Brent, was down $2.20 at $59.36 a barrel on a day when stock markets also fell sharply around the world. Responding to the reporter, Al Falih began by saying that the views of President Trump are taken seriously.

And in the longer term, if global efforts to address climate change mean we become less reliant on oil - a big if perhaps - then Opec will matter a great deal less.

Libya and Nigeria, which were exempt from making cuts in the 2016 deal that created the OPEC+ group, have accepted that they will have to participate this time, said Al Rumhy. Given the economic sanctions being reimposed by the US, Tehran doesn't intend to join any agreement for cutting production, the country's oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said.

The US "is not in a position to tell us what to do".

Unusually, the oil cartel had scrapped a planned news conference on Thursday at which the members had largely been expected to announce a new reduction in output to stem the recent sharp drop in the price of crude.

The group is under pressure after a collapse in oil prices last month.

- Cuts on the cards? However, Moscow has not yet specified how much it will cut production during the fresh round of supply caps that is now under consideration.

"A million b [arrels cut] would be ideal", said Falih.

"If everybody is not willing to join and contribute equally, we will wait until they are". "I think that's the fair and equitable solution", he said.

Opec's de facto leader, Saudi Arabia, has indicated it wants the organisation and its allies to curb output by at least 1.3 million bpd, or 1.3% of global production. Falih also noted that production from some OPEC producers is falling.

On paper, the shift to net oil imports means that the USA is today energy independent, achieving a rhetorical aspiration for generations of American politicians, from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush. In private conversations, delegates said a consensus was emerging around an overall cut, including Russian Federation, of around 1 million barrels a day, although all cautioned the figure wasn't final.

"The US is now a major player in the export market", said Brian Kessens, who helps manage $US16 billion at Tortoise in Leawood, Kansas.

One issue that might complicate relations between the USA and OPEC is the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi by people linked to the government in Riyadh. "Being too cautious on the words, to please President Trump, runs however the risk of diluting the message", said Olivier Jakob from Petromatrix consultancy.

"In the first place we are focusing on the industry's objective index", he said.

"They should know that OPEC is not part of their secretary of energy", he said.

Novak, speaking from Saint Petersburg on Thursday, said that his country was watching closely how the situation was developing.

Hittle added that Wood Mackenzie's short-term outlook projects key OPEC producers - Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait - together with Russian Federation and Oman, will push through a moderate reduction in output in place through 2019. The signals from Vienna indicate that Saudi Arabia is not likely to shoulder the burden alone and will be looking at a collective participation, with no exemptions.

Why is Qatar leaving OPEC?

"The reality is a lot of them get scared at $50, and their bankers get scared at $50", Flynn told Reuters.

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