Oil prices down in Asian trade as dealers consolidate earlier gains


SINGAPORE — Oil prices fell in Asia Wednesday as dealers squared positions following sharp gains in the previous session that were stoked by indications the OPEC cartel will cut its production target next year.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for October delivery fell 12 cents to US$94.76 while Brent crude for November eased eight cents to US$98.97 in afternoon trade.

WTI jumped US$1.96 on Tuesday while Brent gained US$1.17. In comments widely reported Tuesday, Abdullah El-Badri, secretary-general of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said he expected the cartel to trim output in 2015 by about 500,000 barrels per day to 29.5 million.

The cartel is due to hold its next production meeting in Vienna on November 27.

In June, OPEC agreed to keep production at 30 million barrels a day, saying that while demand was picking up, downside risks to the global economy “remain unchecked”. Since the June meeting, oil prices have been in fairly steady retreat, with Brent falling to a two-year low Monday owing partly to concerns about demand in China. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires expect crude reserves to have dropped by 1.2 million barrels on average in the week to Sept. 12.