Investing.com - U.S. crude prices were little changed in early morning trade Friday as markets prepared to wrap up a solid month of gains ahead of a series of meetings that will likely determine the fate of the current rally.
New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude futures was effectively flat at $59.45 a barrel by 7:20 AM ET (11:20 GMT), while Brent crude futures, the benchmark for oil prices outside the U.S., was unchanged at $65.67.
“A key battleground between $58.50 and $60.50 has emerged ahead of the G20 summit and the OPEC meetings, setting it up for a potential big move next week,” Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank, said via Twitter on Friday.
This weekend will be key for the future direction of global oil demand as U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit at 11:30 AM (2:30 GMT) local time in Osaka, Japan on Saturday, according to Reuters. That's 10:30 PM ET on Friday. The trade dispute between the two countries has been primarily responsible for slowing the world economy this year, according to the International Monetary Fund and others.
Although markets see little chance that the two world leaders will come to an agreement, hopes are for a truce that would postpone further tariffs and allow negotiations to resume.
Also on Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman are expected to hold a meeting at the G20 gathering. They will likely discuss whether and how to extend the current production cut agreement between OPEC and other producers, of which Russia is by far the largest, before the official meetings on Monday and Tuesday.
Separately, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Friday he hoped the G20 gathering would provide further clarity on global oil supply and demand ahead of the final decision.
He also argued that the Russian government and its oil companies have a unified position on extending the output restraint deal, according to reports from Interfax and TASS news agencies.
U.S. crude has gained around 11% this month, although it was little changed for the quarter in what has been a volatile three months.
The global economic slowdown caused oil to plunge 20% in late April, only for buyers to pour back into crude after attacks on tankers in the Middle East which raised the threat of longer-term disruptions to supply.
In other energy trading, gasoline futures dipped 0.3% to $1.9095 a gallon by 7:24 AM ET (11:24 GMT), while heating oil advanced 0.3% to $1.9673 a gallon.
Lastly, natural gas futures fell 0.9% to $2.304 per million British thermal unit.