Oil pares gains as Russia says no meeting with OPEC scheduled


MOSCOW, Russia (Bloomberg) -- Oil pared gains near a three-week high as Russia said that although it’s prepared to discuss output with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, no action is currently planned.

Futures traded up 0.9% in New York after earlier climbing 2.7%, as Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that while OPEC member Venezuela has proposed a meeting next month, nothing is scheduled. Four OPEC delegates also said yesterday that no gathering has been arranged. Iraq said earlier in the week that Saudi Arabia and Russia had become more flexible about cooperating to reduce output.

“Talk of an OPEC cut is likely no more than an attempt to shift market sentiment,” Barclays Plc analysts Miswin Mahesh and Michael Cohen said in a report. “We remain highly skeptical that such a meeting will result in credible cuts in supply.”

Oil has pared its decline this year to about 9% after earlier plunging to a 12-year low as volatility in global markets added to concern over brimming U.S. stockpiles and rising exports from Iran after the removal of sanctions. The head of OPEC this week called on producers outside the group to assist in reducing the global oversupply, signaling once again its members won’t make output cuts alone.

West Texas Intermediate for March delivery gained as much as 91 cents to $34.13/bbl on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $33.51 as of 9:44 a.m. in London. The contract climbed 92 cents to $33.22 on Thursday, the highest close since Jan. 7. Total volume traded was about 53% above the 100-day average. Prices are up 4.1% this week. (by GRANT SMITH AND BEN SHARPLES, World Oil)