WTI and Brent Crude Falter on Tuesday as Traders Await Inventory Data

An erratic day of trading yielded another drop in crude oil prices on Tuesday as investors agonized over an OPEC meeting to discuss further production cuts, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, September West Texas Intermediate futures slid 22 cents, or 0.5% to settle at $49.17 a barrel.

October Brent crude, the global benchmark, reversed gains to finish 0.4% lower at $52.14 a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

OPEC and ten producers outside the cartel — including Russia — agreed late last year to cap production at around 1.8 million barrels a day lower than peak levels from October of 2016.

“The reality is OPEC has no way of enforcing the production caps,” said Gao Jian, an analyst at SCI International. “That has been the problem of the cartel for many years now.”

“The bearish bias towards oil remains intact amid oversupply concerns and there is a risk of the OPEC deal falling apart before March 2018, if members do not see oil prices recover,” said said Lukman Otunuga, a research analyst at FXTM.

Investors and analysts were also looking ahead to the weekly U.S. inventory data which will be released Wednesday, as well as monthly oil reports from OPEC and the International Energy Agency later in the week.

Meanwhile, September natural gas rose 2.1 cents, or 0.8%, to settle at $2.8220 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.