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Oil Prices Little Changed Before OPEC Resumes Meeting on Feb Output Levels

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Oil prices were little changed on Tuesday before deadlocked talks between major producers about potential changes in February output are set to continue later in the day while fuel demand concerns lingered amid new COVID19 lockdowns.

Brent crude futures for March fell 6 cents, or 0.1, to 51.03 a barrel by 0726 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for February was at 47.63 a barrel, up 1 cent.

Both contracts fell more than 1 on Monday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC, failed to agree on changes to Februarys oil output.

Saudi Arabia argued against pumping more because of new lockdowns while Russia led calls for higher production, citing recovering demand.

OPEC will resume the talks later on Tuesday.

OPEC drama is of course steering the latest oil price downgrade, but the heavier hand is likely the still unknown impact of the new strain on economic activity and travel both factors that warrant a belated miniprice correction after the winter holidays, said Louise Dickson, oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy.

England went into a new lockdown on Monday as its COVID19 cases surged following the emergence of a more transmissible variant of the coronavirus.

Nearterm demand growth is stalling due to the resurgence of Covid19 across North America, Europe and the Middle East and is likely set for deeper declines over the next several months, Fitch Solutions said.

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