Oil prices drop as OPEC+ postpones meeting

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    SINGAPORE- Oil prices extended losses on Wednesday, hit by a surprise build in oil inventories in the United States and as OPEC and its allies left markets in limbo by delaying a formal meeting to decide whether to increase output in January.

    Brent crude oil futures were down by 41 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $47.01 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate crude was down by 46 cents, or 1 percent, at $44.09.

    Industry data from the American Petroleum Institute showed US crude inventories rose by 4.1 million barrels last week, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a draw of 2.4 million barrels.

    The numbers came after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia and other allies, a group known as OPEC+, postponed talks on next year’s oil output policy to Thursday from Tuesday, sources said.

    Earlier this year the group imposed production cuts of 7.7 million barrels per day (bpd) as the coronavirus pandemic cut into fuel demand. It had been widely expected to roll those reductions over into January-March 2021 amid spikes in COVID-19 cases.