NEW YORK, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices moved in mixed territory in early Friday trading as claims over global market share competed against market predictions from the World Bank.
Crude oil prices reacted Thursday to mixed signals from Russia on a proposal from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to alter production levels so that balance would return between supply and demand. Oil prices have held steadily above $50 per barrel since OPEC leaders last month agreed on the proposal.
A research note published Thursday from brokerage firm PVM said that, from its perspective, crude oil prices were inflated. Nevertheless, the World Bank revised its forecast for crude oil prices higher by nearly 4 percent to $55 per barrel next year, though the outlook for this year remains steady with an expected average of $43 per barrel.
About a half hour before the start of the trading day in New York, the price for Brent crude oil was flat to trade at $51.36 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate moved lower by 0.4 percent to $50.43 per barrel.
John Baffes, a senior economist with the World Bank, said oil prices should move higher in response to OPEC's proposal.
"However, there is considerable uncertainty around the outlook as we await the details and the implementation of the OPEC agreement, which, if carried through, will undoubtedly impact oil markets," he said.
Russia and Saudi Arabia issued a joint statement before the OPEC agreement was reached last month in Algeria that said both parties would coordinate efforts to correct the market. Russia's stance, however, has been fluid and Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil company Rosneft, suggested in an op-ed written in an Italian newspaper that Russia would work to defend its market share.
Prices could be influenced later in the day after oilfield services company Baker Hughes releases data on weekly rig activity. Rival company Schlumberger, the largest company in that sector, described market conditions as stable during the third quarter.