U.S. crude fell nearly 4 percent on Friday, dragged down by uncertainty over whether the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, will reach an output deal, after Saudi Arabia said it will not attend talks on Monday with non-OPEC producers to discuss supply cuts.
U.S. crude ended the week up 13 cents a barrel, after trading between $45.77 and $49.20 a barrel. Brent crude rose 20 cents during the week and traded in a range of $46.85 and $49.96 a barrel.
Overall activity on both contracts was thin after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday and ahead of the weekend.
Top OPEC oil exporter Saudi Arabia has told the producer group it will not attend talks on Monday with non-OPEC producers to discuss limiting supply, OPEC sources said, as it wants to focus on having consensus within the organization first.
“I think Saudi’s announcement it would not to go to the meeting drove the initial sell-off,” said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital in New York. “There has to be a substantial cut and it has to be something that the street will believe.”
Russia still plans to attend lower-tier talks on Nov. 28 in Vienna ahead of the OPEC ministerial meeting on Nov. 30, a Russian source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Reports that state oil giant Saudi Aramco would in January increase oil supplies to some Asian customers also cast a shadow on markets, traders said.
A decline in China’s October crude oil imports to their lowest on a daily basis since January added to the bearish tone.