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Oil Markets On Edge Ahead Of OPEC Meeting


The OPEC+ chatter this week is unbearable. Analysts, traders, and media alike have spent considerable time reading tea leaves to determine what course OPEC+ will take at its next round of meetings, scheduled to begin over the weekend.

Analysts have reviewed breakeven points for OPEC members—figures that could reveal the oil prices at which OPEC+ members would have no choice but to cut production to move prices back into comfortable territory. Analysts have reviewed OPEC’s historical decisions and the fundamentals and market conditions that have led them to make those decisions. Global inventories, Russia’s exports, and China’s imports have been scrutinized despite not having any real data to go by. And analysts—and particularly sensitive journalists—have spent a considerable amount of time vilifying OPEC+ for its threats made to oil speculators and its decision to keep major news outlets like Bloomberg and Reuters out of the OPEC+ meeting festivities.

Does OPEC really have a set Brent price that will trigger another cut? Are China’s imports really as disappointing as some are making it out to be? Are crude inventories too high in the U.S.? How much of a role do fundamentals play in OPEC’s decision-making?

OPEC’s decision-making has traditionally been a mix of fundamentals and emotion. Saudi Arabia and Russia launched a price war a few years ago by way of unrestrained production when oil’s fundamentals…

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