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Oil slips 1% on concerns over delayed OPEC+ meeting

Oil slips 1% on concerns over delayed OPEC+ meeting © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The sun is seen behind a crude oil pump jack in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas, U.S., November 22, 2019. Picture taken November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Angus Mordant/File Photo

By Nia Williams and Natalie Grover

(Reuters) -Oil prices dipped about 1% on Thursday, extending losses on expectations that after OPEC+ might not deepen output cuts next year after the producer group postponed its policy meeting.

futures were down 61 cents, or about 0.7%, at $81.35 a barrel by 1734 GMT after falling as much as 4% on Wednesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude slid 78 cents, or 1%, to $76.32 after dropping as much as 5% in the previous session.

Trading activity was muted because of the U.S. Thanksgiving public holiday.

In a surprise move on Wednesday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies including Russia delayed a ministerial meeting at which they were expected to discuss oil output cuts to Nov. 30.

Producers were struggling to agree on output levels ahead of the meeting originally set for Nov. 26, OPEC+ sources said, suggesting that the disagreement was largely linked to African nations.

OPEC+ members Angola and Nigeria are aiming for higher oil output, officials told Reuters on Thursday.

“We think Nigeria can be assuaged as the leadership values its longstanding OPEC membership and improving ties with Saudi Arabia,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Helima Croft.

“However, it may be more difficult to bridge the gap with Angola, which has been a moodier member of the producer group since it joined in 2007.”

The downside move looks overdone and the market will likely rally somewhat next week once traders return from the Thanksgiving holiday, said Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

The questions over OPEC+ supply come as data showed that stocks jumped by 8.7 million barrels last week, much more than the 1.16 million build analysts had expected. [EIA/S]

On the demand side, there was more bleak news. Though a survey showed the downturn in euro zone business activity eased in November, data suggested the bloc’s economy will contract again this quarter as consumers continue to rein in spending.

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