Investing.com – Crude oil prices were lower on Tuesday, but they remained within close distance of a two-year high amid ongoing optimism over the rebalancing of the market.
The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude December contract was down12 cents or about 0.21% at $57.23a barrel by 09:50 a.m. ET (13:50 GMT),not far from Monday’s two-year peak of $57.55.
Elsewhere, Brent oil for January delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London was down 43 cents or about 0.65% at $63.85 a barrel, just off a two-year high of $64.42 hit overnight
Oil prices were boosted by potential supply disruptions following a number of corruption arrests that targeted royal family members and ministers in Saudi Arabia.
The weekend purge included a wave of arrests of Saudi Arabian princes, businessmen and government ministers in what has been billed as an anticorruption crackdown but is seen by some as a consolidation of power by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia is among the world’s top producers of oil and OPEC’s most influential member.
Prices have also been supported in recent weeks by expectations that oil producing countries will agree to extend an output cut at their meeting at the end of this month.
Under the original terms of the deal, OPEC and 10 other non-OPEC countries led by Russia agreed to cut production by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) for six months. The agreement was extended in May of this year for a period of nine more months until March 2018 in a bid to reduce global oil inventories and support oil prices.
Discussions are continuing in the run-up to the Nov. 30 meeting, which oil ministers from OPEC and the participating non-OPEC countries will attend.
Meanwhile, investors looked ahead to weekly data from the U.S. on stockpiles of crude and refined products to gauge the strength of demand in the world’s largest oil consumer.
Industry group the American Petroleum Institute is due to release its weekly report at 4:30 p.m. ET (20:30 GMT) on Tuesday. Official data from the Energy Information Administration will be released Wednesday, amid forecasts for an oil-stock drop of around 2.8 million barrels, which would mark the second weekly decline in a row.