Opec waits on Russia's decision as it searches for oil cut deal

International Brent crude oil futures were up 40 cents or 0.7 percent at $62.09 per barrel

Traders said oil prices were being weighed down by weak global financial markets, which saw stock markets tumble on Thursday.

The influential oil cartel is meeting at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, with the aim of reaching an accord over production levels for the next six months.

The United States is not part of any output-limiting initiative due to its strict anti-trust legislation and fragmented oil industry.

In a tweet on Wednesday, the president warned OPEC against restricting oil flows and said the world does not want to see higher oil prices.

Oil output from the world's biggest producers - OPEC, Russia and the United States - has increased by a 3.3 million bpd since the end of 2017, to 56.38 million bpd, meeting nearly 60 per cent of global consumption.

His comments were echoed by his Nigeriancounterpart.

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Three delegates said Opec and its allies could cut output by 1 million barrels per day if Russian Federation contributed 150,000 bpd of that reduction. "How OPEC communicates this to the market may be just as important as what gets done". Iran, too, is a wildcard in the production cut talks, with its oil minister staunchly refusing to negotiate any production cuts for as long as the country remains under U.S. Sanctions.

The US, not a member of OPEC but a significant oil producer itself, has repeatedly called for oil prices to stay low, with Trump using Twitter several times to make the point.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia produced a record 11.3 million barrels per day (bpd) in November, adding to the swelling glut.

One issue that might complicate relations between the United States and OPEC is the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi by people linked to the government in Riyadh. However, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters Thursday morning that a cut of 1 million barrels would be sufficient.

Otherwise, he added, the USA official has adopted an unprofessional, naïve, and meddlesome approach.

"While we believe that President Trump will be reluctant to escalate the situation, the Saudis are likely to choose the wording of any statement with regards to cuts very carefully", ING told AFP. While Saudi Arabia, the group's biggest producer, will shoulder most of the burden, the kingdom wants commitments from other countries before completing a final deal.

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