- Reuters/Stefano Rellandini
Crude-oil prices leapt Wednesday after Reuters reported that the OPEC cartel of oil-producing nations may consider a new oil-production ceiling at its meeting on Thursday.
West Texas Intermediate crude-oil futures later shed gains, and they were down by less than 1% in late-morning trading in New York after the headline crossed. Futures climbed to as high as $48.89 a barrel.
Brent crude also rose on the news then slipped.
OPEC ministers will meet in Vienna on Thursday, and expectations for any meaningful agreement to reduce production are low.
At the April meeting, Saudi Arabia refused to move forward on a deal without Iran, which was bent on getting ready to export oil after the removal of economic sanctions on the country.
Bloomberg reported earlier Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter, that Saudi Arabia would try to use the meeting to heal its relationship with other producers.
“Many observers have announced the death of OPEC,” Brown Brothers Harriman’s Marc Chandler wrote in a note. “The Saudis’ refusal in 2014 to continue to act as the swing producer, coupled with the rise of non-OPEC production, especially the US shale producers, drove oil prices lower, while world demand had softened.”
This chart shows the spike in WTI futures after the headlines crossed: