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Oil prices are poised for a pullback after OPEC meeting

Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, expects OPEC to lock down the nine-month extension. But he also expects a pullback on the news.

The reason: Hedge funds have recently increased their long positions in oil futures, or bets that prices will keep rising. That makes prices vulnerable to a slide because traders often book profits by selling high. At the same time, the number of oil rigs operating in U.S. oil fields crept up in November, a trend that tends to weigh on prices.

“The market has gotten very, very long and as a result you can have some profit-taking triggered by the increase in the rig count on Friday,” Lipow said.

U.S. crude performance since Nov. 1, 2016

Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at Oil Price Information Service, also thinks a nine-month extension has been baked into prices, making it hard for U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude to rally beyond Friday’s 2017 intraday high of $59.05.

“We may look back at Black Friday as the as-good-as-it-gets number for U.S. producers,” he said.

U.S. crude could take another run at the $59 per barrel level, but OPEC would have to get the messaging just right, said John Kilduff, founding partner at energy hedge fund Again Capital. That includes a show of unity among regional geopolitical rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran and a clear signal that OPEC will force member countries Libya and Nigeria to cap their output after giving them a pass this year.

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