November 28, 2018 / 12:38 AM / 15 days ago

Oil edges up ahead of OPEC meeting, but sentiment still cautious

SINGAPORE, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Wednesday ahead of an OPEC meeting next week at which the producer club is expected to decide some form of supply cut to counter an emerging glut.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $52.00 per barrel at 0027 GMT, up 44 cents, or 0.9 percent from their last settlement.

International Brent crude oil futures had yet to trade.

Despite Wednesday’s rise, oil prices have still lost almost a third of their value since early October, weighed down by an emerging supply overhang and by widespread weakness in financial markets.

The crude oil price slump since October is so far on par with the 2008 price crash and steeper than that of 2014/2015.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on Dec. 6 to discuss output policy.

The OPEC-meeting will follow a gathering by the Group of 20 (G20) nations, which includes the world’s biggest economies, in Argentina this weekend, at which the Sino-American trade dispute as well as oil policy are expected to be discussed.

While most analysts expect some form of supply cut from the OPEC-meeting, sentiment in oil markets remains negative.

“Options traders remain focused on downside risks following a 30 percent slide in WTI,” Erik Norland, senior economist at commodities exchange CME Group wrote in a note, referring to the higher number of traders who have placed positions that would profit from a further fall in crude prices than those placing bets on a rising market.

Portfolio managers have slashed their combined net long position in crude futures by a total of 607 million barrels over the last eight weeks, the largest reduction over a comparable period since at least 2013, when the current data series began, exchange data showed.

Reporting by Henning Gloystein; editing by Richard Pullin

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