Oil mixed in Asia ahead of OPEC meeting

SINGAPORE: Oil was mixed in Asian trade Monday ahead of a key OPEC meeting this week in Vienna, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for July delivery, rose eight cents to $100.30 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for July delivery lost six cents at $115.78.

"Looking ahead, the OPEC meeting is coming up this Wednesday... and it is going to be an important event for oil," said Victor Shum, an analyst with energy consultancy Purvin and Gertz.

The 12-nation Organisaton of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet Wednesday in the Austrian capital amid growing fears that high crude prices could further dent faltering world economic growth and energy demand.

The International Energy Agency has already called on OPEC to increase output and prevent another damaging spike in prices, with seasonal demand set to strengthen in the coming months as the northern hemisphere enters summer.

So far this year, Brent oil prices have soared by about 21 percent, largely as a result of spreading unrest in the crude-producing Middle East and North Africa region -- and particularly in OPEC member Libya.

At the same time, recent downbeat global economic data has suggested that the economic recovery is struggling and this complicates the outlook.

"I would expect OPEC to leave quotas unchanged, rather than raise them, given the growing evidence that global demand is slowing," said Capital Economics analyst Julian Jessop.

"There is speculation in the market that they will be doing something to acknowledge the supply problems in Libya.

"Regardless of what OPEC happens to do... prices have further to fall," he added, citing recent weak economic data in top oil consumer the United States.

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