Oil prices have steadied ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays as traders engage in timid buying.    

International Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 traded at $54.88 per barrel, which is marginally down by four cents while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures CLc1 fell by 17 cents to touch at $51.95 a barrel, reported Reuters.

Freight Investor Services (FIS) fuel broker Matt Stanley was quoted by the news agency as saying: “I think we can safely say that pending any dramatic headline we will bounce around the $54-$56 (per barrel) range on Brent until year-end.”

"I think we can safely say that pending any dramatic headline we will bounce around the $54-$56 per barrel range on Brent until year-end."

Reports that Saudi Arabia’s crude oil export fell by 176,000bpd previously increased the oil prices for short period. However, after Saudi Arabia stated that it planned to increase export of refined fuel products, oil prices tailed off.

Increase in refined fuel products is likely to affect Asia, which is expected to witness growing demand for crude oil next year.

Refineries of Asia are not likely to experience crude oil shortage due to OPEC’s planned production-cut as OPEC does not intend to cut production for Asian customers.

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By GlobalData

Reduction of output is likely to affect non-Asian markets.