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Oil Up, Investors Await Upcoming OPEC+ Meeting

Oil was up Friday morning in Asia, ending the week with small gains in an otherwise volatile session as investors await an upcoming Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) meeting.

Brent oil futures inched up 0.03% to $75.58 by 1:11 AM ET (5:11 AM GMT) and WTI futures inched up 0.04% to $73.33.

The black oil’s recent gains pushed it into overbought territory earlier in the week, a sign that its recent rally could fade. All eyes are now on OPEC+’s meeting, due to take place in the following week, on whether the cartel will implement a widely expected supply hike.

However, with no visible change on the demand side, OPEC+ could increase output gradually, CFRA Research energy equity analyst Stewart Glickman told Bloomberg.

“Given how disciplined they’ve been so far, I don’t think it’s going to be a free-for-all at this point,” he added.

Crude futures are up more than 50% in 2021 to date, pushing WTI futures past the $75 mark earlier in the week, as the U.S., China and parts of Europe continue their economic recovery from COVID-19. The progress in COVID-19 vaccinations globally has also contributed to a brighter fuel demand outlook as economies slow reopen and fuel consumption increases.

India, the third-biggest oil importer globally, again urged OPEC+ to revive oil production as it remains “deeply concerned” over spiraling energy prices.

U.S. crude supply data from the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a rapid depletion in crude inventories with the U.S. summer driving season well underway. U.S. refiners are even looking to Asian for crude supplies to meet the increasing demand.

The U.S. is “proving to be a rare bright spot” for imports of jet kerosene, with shipments into key ports rising to pre-COVID-19 levels, a Vortexa report released earlier in the week said.

However, the uncertainty over increases in OPEC+ production could become a risk for portfolio managers at the end of the quarter, according to Tyche Capital Advisors LL's managing member of the global macro program Tariq Zahir.

Some may scale back positions to lock in returns in case prices dip after the meeting, he said.

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