Global oil prices turned sharply lower Thursday, reversing solid early gains, after Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister appeared to rule out deeper production cuts as ministers from the OPEC cartel meet in Vienna to hammer-out a deal on the extension a prior agreement that have kept 1.8 million barrels of oil each from the market each day.
Oil ministers meeting in Europe agreed Thursday to extend production cuts into 2018 as they seek to regain market power amid a surge of U.S.output that has kept fuel prices low.
For consumers, the latest deal may not have an immediate effect. Gasoline prices in the U.S. have remained fairly steady over the past several weeks, rising only 6.7 cents from a month ago to $2.38 per gallon on Thursday morning, according to GasBuddy.com. Prices typically rise ahead of Memorial Day weekend as Americans hit the road, but the upswing has been muted this year because of plentiful oil supplies.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, as expected, agreed Thursday to extend its current cap on oil production another nine months, now expiring July 1, 2018.
The deal is aimed at bolstering petroleum prices, which have remained relatively flat as U.S. shale oil producers turned on the spigot to make up for reduced OPEC output. A group of non-OPEC producers, including Russia, are also expected to maintain their commitment to the production caps.
But traders shrugged at reports of a deal. The price of West Texas Intermediate oil, the U.S. benchmark crude, declined 2.65% to $48.71 Thursday. The price of Brent, the global benchmark, fell 2.66% to $51.30.
The commodity had already gained ground in recent days amid signs of a likely deal.
“It’s been a classic case of markets buying the rumors and selling the facts,” Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam said in a note to investors. “It would appear a…