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Oil prices rebound on US data

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oilLondon, Nov 20 (AFP) Global oil prices rebounded today, reversing earlier losses as traders embraced a raft of upbeat economic data in top crude consumer the United States.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in January rose 79 cents to USD 78.89 a barrel in late afternoon deals.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for December rose 45 cents to USD 75.03 per barrel.

“Oil prices got a lift after US data this afternoon, with traders cheered by continuing signs of recovery in the US that trump the stagnation in Europe,” said IG analyst Chris Beauchamp.

Wall Street also won a boost from fresh US data showing flat inflation, a pickup in home sales and an unexpected surge in the Philadelphia regional manufacturing index.

In addition, there was an overall improvement in the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index, which is an amalgamation of several key economic indicators.

“In recent days both Brent and WTI have found support, which gives hope that a bottom may now be in for the time being,” added Beauchamp.

“As we get closer to the OPEC meeting next week we can expect further rangebound trading as markets await news on planned supply levels for the year ahead.”

Crude futures had fallen earlier today as traders deemed that the OPEC cartel was unlikely to trim output at its key production meeting in Vienna on November 27.

“The Brent price fell … below the 78 per barrel mark because any major cut in OPEC production is regarded as increasingly unlikely,” said Commerzbank analysts in reference to earlier trade.

“The minimum consensus that appears likely to be reached at OPEC’s meeting is a commitment to better comply with the official production target of 30 million barrels per day.”

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) pumps about a third of global crude and currently produces just under 31 million bpd. That is around one million more than its official target.

“The market is keenly watching the outcome of the OPEC meeting next week,” said Sanjeev Gupta, head of the Asia-Pacific oil and gas practice at business consultancy EY.

Gulf members of OPEC, led by kingpin member Saudi Arabia, are poised to reject production cuts unless they are guaranteed market share in a highly competitive market, analysts said. (AFP)

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