Brent Holds Steady at $50 as Producers Remain Optimistic

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By Brendel Balaga

Brent crude prices hovered at the $50-mark on Friday following a surprisingly civil meeting among members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna on Thursday with major producers remaining confident that supply would soon match demand.

The positive tone of OPEC’s June meeting is a sharp contrast to its previous meeting, where Saudi Arabia and Iran locked horns on the issue of limiting output.

Production outages in Nigeria, Libya, Venezuela, and Canada contributed greatly to the reduction of global oil supply. Militant attacks in Nigeria and sandstorms in Canada have disrupted oil-drilling operations in the aforementioned countries.

Brent crude futures fell to $49.80 per barrel at 8:42 a.m. ET, shedding 20 cents from the previous session. The international benchmark, however, remains on course for its fourth weekly gain.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures shed 30 cents at $48.87.

Analysts said that the declines seen today were isolated, and pointed out that prices were trending higher as Americans go back to the road and travel for summer.

The falling U.S. dollar, which is inversely related to the price of oil, is also lending support to oil, lifting its price. The greenback tumbled after U.S. non-farm payroll data disappointed market players.

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