Traders in crude oil and natural gas options work on the floor
London - AFP
World oil prices fell on Monday, reversing earlier gains as OPEC member Kuwait declared that the oil cartel would likely refrain from cutting output when it meets later this month.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December dropped 47 cents to trade at $82.92 a barrel in late afternoon deals in London.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for December slid 93 cents to $77.72 a barrel compared with Friday's closing level.
OPEC is not likely to cut crude output when it meets in Vienna amid hopes that the market will absorb surplus supplies, the Kuwaiti oil minister said on Monday.
"I do not expect OPEC to make any production cut. A decision like this will be very difficult," Ali al-Omair said in Abu Dhabi, cited by the official KUNA news agency.
The 12-member Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is due to hold its next scheduled meeting on November 27 amid calls by some members to reduce production to halt a drop of almost 30 percent in oil prices since June.
OPEC supplies around 40 percent of global crude output.
Omair, who was attending an oil conference in the UAE capital, expressed hope that the oil market will soon absorb surplus production, adding that "the size of the surplus is unknown".
KUNA quoted OPEC secretary general Abdullah el-Badri as saying that "there was no cause for panic in the markets as a result of the sharp decline in oil prices because the situation will improve."
The cartel is currently pumping just under 31 million barrels per day, around one million bpd higher than its ceiling.
The oil market had risen sharply in earlier deals on Monday, gaining strength from solid economic data in key consumer China, with extra support from the weaker US dollar, dealers said.
"Brent ... futures rallied towards $85 per barrel, supported by solid Chinese economic data which suggested improving market conditions in China," said analyst Sucden analyst Myrto Sokou in reference to earlier price gains.
Chinese inflation was unchanged at a near five-year low of 1.6 percent in October from the previous month, official data showed.
At the same time, figures released Saturday indicated a further slowdown in growth of exports and imports last month.
Exports expanded 11.6 percent year-on-year, compared with 15.3 percent in September, while imports rose 4.6 percent, down from 7.0 percent.
"China's trade balance in October was better than expected with exports rising by more than expected," said Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen.
He added that the data was "easing concerns about the demand outlook" from Asian powerhouse China.
The oil market had climbed on Friday as traders took a breather after a turbulent week that saw sharp sell-offs and a mixed US jobs report.
The US Labor Department said the economy added 214,000 jobs last month, marking the ninth straight month of growth above 200,000 despite missing the 235,000 consensus analyst estimate.
The unemployment rate slipped to a six-year low of 5.9 percent in the United States, which is the world's biggest consumer of crude.