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Oil Prices Head Lower as Traders Await this Weeks OPEC Decision on Output

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Oil futures edged lower Monday, pulling back modestly after ending last week at their highest levels since October 2018.

Concerns that the spread of a COVID variant in Europe and Austria will lead to less travel, easing demand for fuel, put pressure on oil prices, as traders awaited a decision this week by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies on crude production levels.

The group of producer, known as OPEC, will hold technical meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday to review the oil market, ahead of official meetings of OPEC, as well as the wider OPEC group, on Thursday via videoconference that are expected to result in a decision on production. 

SP Global Platts Analytics views an August quota increase of 500,000 barrels per day as the most probable outcome of the July 1 OPEC meeting, said Paul Sheldon, chief geopolitical adviser, political risk and oil supply analytics, at SP Global Platts, in emailed commentary. Saudi caution over both global demand uncertainty and Iran nuclear talks will likely prevent a larger commitment, until the next meeting in early August.

West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery fell 86 cents, or 1.2, to 73.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

September Brent crude the most actively traded contract for the global crude benchmark, was off 89 cents, or 1.2, at 74.49 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. August Brent crude which expires at the end of Wednesdays trading session, fell 91 cents, or 1.2,…

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