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WTI monthly loss ahead of OPEC+ meeting

An offshore oil platform is seen at sunset near Huntington Beach, California, on Feb. 9, 2024.

David Mcnew | Getty Images

U.S. crude oil was on pace Friday for its worst month of the year, ahead of an OPEC+ meeting this weekend during which the cartel will review its production levels.

U.S. oil is down 4.8% in May, while global benchmark Brent has fallen 7.2%.

Here are today’s energy prices:

  • West Texas Intermediate July contract: $77.90 a barrel, down 1 cent. Year to date, U.S. crude oil has gained 9%.
  • Brent July contract: $81.69 a barrel, down 17 cents, or 0.21%. Year to date, the global benchmark has added 6.4%.
  • RBOB Gasoline June contract: $2.41 per gallon, up 0.48%. Year to date, gasoline futures are up 14.9%.
  • Natural Gas June contract: $2.54 per thousand cubic feet. Year to date, gas has added 1.3%.

OPEC+ members on Sunday are expected to review voluntary output cuts of 2.2 million barrels per day. Oil market analysts generally agree that the group will likely keep those cuts in place.

“We see no appetite at this juncture to add more barrels to the market and trigger another price move to the downside,” Helima Croft, head of global commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, told clients in a note on Wednesday.

Gasoline demand in the U.S. has been relatively weak, with the daily demand average for fuel 1.4% lower in the runup to Memorial Day compared with the year-ago period.

Oil demand has been lackluster due to a warm winter that reduced heating oil demand and the Federal Reserve’s indications that interest rates will remain higher for longer, challenging hopes for a demand rebound in the second half of the year, according to a Friday note from JPMorgan analysts.

Chinese refiners’ output has also slumped, and European refiners have been slow to return from spring maintenance, which has also pressured demand, according to the investment bank. Initial demand readings in April, however, are showing some signs of improvement.

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