U.S. crude climbs on weaker dollar ahead of OPEC meeting

U.S. crude climbs on weaker dollar ahead of OPEC meeting

By Swetha Gopinath

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – U.S. crude oil prices extended gains on Friday, buoyed by a weaker dollar, ahead a closely watched OPEC meeting that is unlikely to alter the group's policy of maintaining high output.

U.S. crude was trading up 21 cents at $41.29 per barrel at 0022 GMT, after settling up nearly 3 percent on Thursday.

Crude prices have been choppy ahead of a policy meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna on Friday.

OPEC will maintain output without changing the current ceiling of 30 million barrels per day (bpd), sources told Reuters.

The sources said there was little chance of Saudi Arabia making a formal proposal for OPEC output cuts, contingent on co-operation from non-OPEC, as reported by Energy Intelligence.

"News yesterday that Saudi Arabia lowered their offer prices into the United States supports the view that Saudi Arabia has no intention of cutting output & relinquishing any market share," ANZ bank said on Friday.

Saudi Aramco moreover cut the January Arab Light official selling price to Asia by 10 cents a barrel versus December to a discount of $1.40 a barrel to the Oman/Dubai average.

A weak dollar lifted oil markets as it made greenback-dominated contracts such as crude futures more affordable for holders of other currencies.

The dollar index <.DXY> posted its steepest one-day decline in more than 6 years on Thursday as the euro rallied on the latest round of policy easing by the European Central Bank.

U.S. non-farm payrolls data, which will assist indicate the timing of a possible U.S. rate hike, is due Friday.

A 4-percent rise in heating oil prices, which have been depressed in recent days due to warmer-than-expected weather in the North Eastern United States, moreover contributed to the climb in U.S. crude prices.

(Reporting by Swetha Gopinath; Editing by Joseph Radford)

Source: “Reuters”