Business

LONDON (APP) – Oil hovered close to $50 per barrel this week as traders tracked OPEC’s refusal to set production limits and key data in the United States, the world’s biggest consumer of crude.

The market began the week on the back foot after recent comments by Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen, who suggested that US interest rates would soon rise and boost the dollar.

A stronger greenback makes dollar-priced oil more expensive, denting demand and hurting prices.

Prices wobbled on Tuesday as traders mulled recent Canadian and Nigerian supply outages that sent oil above $50 the previous week.

Crude edged lower on Wednesday on the eve of a hotly anticipated meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna.

The commodity initially fell on Thursday after OPEC ended its meeting, as expected, with no agreement to lower or limit output despite a chronic oversupply.

However, oil then rebounded after a US Department of Energy (DoE) report showed commercial crude inventories sinking by 1.4 million barrels last week.

That dashed market expectations for a heavier drop of 2.5 million barrels, but still indicated solid pick-up in demand. The data was published one day later than normal due to a US public holiday on Monday.

“The decline in (US) stockpiles is helping underpin prices for now – but the supply and demand dynamics have not changed,” CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson told AFP.