Crude oil prices leapt after Reuters reported that OPEC may consider a new oil-production output ceiling at its meeting on Thursday.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures later shed gains, and were down by less than 1% in late-morning trading in New York after the headline crossed. Futures climbed to as high as $48.89 per barrel. Brent crude also rose.
OPEC ministers will meet in Vienna on Thursday, and expectations for any meaningful agreement to reduce production are low.
At the April meeting, Saudi Arabia refused to move forward on a deal without Iran, which was bent on getting ready to export oil following the removal of economic sanctions on the country.
Bloomberg reported earlier Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter, that Saudi Arabia will try to use the meeting to heal its relationship with other producers.
“Many observers have announced the death of OPEC,” wrote Brown Brothers Harriman’s Marc Chandler in a note. “The Saudi’s refusal in 2014 to continue to act as the swing producer, coupled with the rise of non-OPEC production, especially the US shale producers, drove oil prices lower, while world demand had softened.”
This chart shows the spike in WTI futures after the headlines crossed: