26 November 2014, News Wires – Brent crude oil steadied below $79 a barrel on Wednesday after Saudi Arabia signalled it was unlikely to push for a major change in OPEC oil output despite a collapse in prices.
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said he expected oil “to stabilise itself eventually”, a comment traders took to mean that the cartel would not cut output when oil ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meet on Thursday in Vienna.
“He effectively ruled out an output cut,” Carsten Fritsch, senior oil and commodities analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt, told Reuters Global Oil Forum.
Oil prices have dropped by a third since June and some OPEC members have called for the cartel to reduce production sharply in an attempt to tighten the market. Predictions for the OPEC meeting range from a large output cut to no action at all.
Benchmark Brent futures were up 31 cents at $78.64 a barrel by 113 GMT. US crude was unchanged at $74.19.
Iran said on Wednesday OPEC needed to show unity in the face of growing oversupply in oil markets and that non-OPEC members also should participate in any output cuts.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh told reporters on Wednesday some OPEC members, but not Iran itself, believed it was time to defend market share in the face of growing supplies from non-OPEC nations.
“I believe we need to have the contribution of non-OPEC producers for managing the market,” Zangeneh said. “All the experts in the market believe we have oversupply in the market and next year we will have more oversupply.”
Weak economic data from Asia’s biggest economies further suppressed prices.
“The US economy is doing great but most everyone else is struggling, creating more downside than upside risks to growth,” US-based PIRA Energy Group said in a weekly report.
India’s economic growth probably slowed to around 5% in the three months to September, slipping from 5.7% in the previous quarter.
Asia’s top economy, China, cut interest rates last week, indicating slowing growth, while Japan’s economy slipped into recession in the third quarter.
The US upgraded its reading on third quarter gross domestic product to 3.9% on Tuesday from 3.5% reported last month.