Oil prices dipped on Thursday as stock markets slid and as traders eyed an OPEC meeting expected to result in a supply cut aimed at draining a glut that has pulled down crude by 30 percent since October. International Brent crude oil futures were at $61.35 per barrel at 0747 GMT, down 21 cents, or 0.3 percent from their last close. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $53.17 per barrel, down 28 cents, or 0.5 percent. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is meeting at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on Thursday to decide its production policy in coordination with non-OPEC producer Russia. Expectations are for a supply cut between OPEC and Russia to be agreed between 1 and 1.4 million barrels per day (bpd). Led by Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s crude oil production has risen by 4.1 percent since mid-2018, to 33.31 million bpd. Oil output from the world’s biggest producers – OPEC, Russia and the United States – has increased by a 3.3 million bpd since the end of 2017, to 56.38 million bpd, meeting almost 60 percent of global consumption. The increase alone is equivalent to the output of major OPEC producer United Arab Emirates. Weakning Outlook Traders said oil prices were also being weighed down by weak global financial markets, which saw stock markets tumble on Thursday. Barclays bank said in its Global Outlook published on Thursday that “investors need to lower their expectations” and that “2019 should be a period of lower returns and higher volatility”. The British bank said that it expected “the global economy to slow over the next several quarters” although it added that “not one major economy is near recession.” The financial downturn has also hit oil markets hard. Since early October, crude oil has lost around 30 percent of its value amid surging supply and fears that an economic downturn will erode fuel demand. Published in Daily Times, December 7th 2018.