OPEC squabbles over output cuts hurt prices


NEW YORK, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Oil fell 1 percent on Wednesday on growing doubts that OPEC would cut production enough to drain a global glut, although prices bounced off session lows, with Brent returning above $50 a barrel after the US government reported a surprise drawdown in crude inventories.

International Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were trading at $50.18 per barrel at 0655 GMT (2:55 a.m. ET) on Thursday, up 20 cents, or 0.4 percent, from their last close. Prices hit $50.13 earlier in the session, the lowest since October 3.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude slid 80 cents, or 1.6 per cent, to US$49.96.

Elsewhere, crude oil for December delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange touched a session low of $49.07 a barrel, a level not seen since October 4.

U.S. crude stockpiles fell 553,000 barrels last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said, compared with the 1.7 million-barrel build analysts polled by Reuters forecast.

Traders also said that oil prices were being held back on doubts that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers like Russian Federation will be able to effectively coordinate curbs in output to prop up prices.

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However, OPEC said it won't finalize details on individual output quotas until its next official meeting in Vienna on November 30.

On Tuesday, London-traded Brent lost 67 cents, or 1.3%, amid fading expectations of a coordinated production cut among major global oil producers. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg projected a gain and the American Petroleum Institute data showed an increase.

Prices will likely continue falling, with WTI hitting US$47 and Brent falling to $48 to $48.50 by the month's end as the market grows skeptical about OPEC's jawboning, said Scott Shelton, energy futures broker with ICAP in Durham, North Carolina.

OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo and Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi met on Tuesday in Baghdad to bring about an agreement on supply cuts that would support sagging oil prices.

The 14-member cartel had previously vowed to lower daily crude output by up to 700,000 barrels per day.

Other OPEC-members, including Libya and Nigeria, are likely to be exempt from cutting production, while Iran and Venezuela and Indonesia are also unlikely to reduce output.