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Oil prices edge lower ahead of OPEC meeting and output level discussions
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SINGAPORE - Oil prices edged lower on Monday, the first day of 2021 trading, ahead of a meeting of OPEC and allied producers to discuss output levels for February with fears for first-half demand seeping into the market as the coronavirus pandemic lingers.
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Brent crude for March was at $51.76 a barrel, down 4 cents or 0.08%, by 0038 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for February fell 9 cents, or 0.2%, to $48.43 a barrel.
Mohammad Barkindo, Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said on Sunday that while crude demand is expected to rise by 5.9 million barrels per day (bpd) to 95.9 million bpd this year, the group sees plenty of downside demand risks in the first half of 2021.
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“We are only beginning to emerge from a year of deep investment cuts, huge job losses and the worst crude oil demand destruction on record,” he said.