Oil Prices Fluctuate, Slide in Today's Trading
NEW YORK --- Oil prices were in a state of flux Monday as investors speculated over whether OPEC oil ministers will opt to increase production during a meeting later this week.Light, sweet crude for January delivery fell 23 cents to $88.48 a barrel in afternoon trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the AP reported. But the price alternated frequently between losses and gains.Meanwhile, gas prices dropped 2.7 cents overnight to a national average of $3.061 a gallon, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Industry analysts predict that gas prices will continue to dip in the weeks to come if oil prices continue to fall.Crude futures have dropped about $11 in one week, spurred by speculation that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will decide to bolster production. But the resulting price drop may prompt some OPEC ministers to reconsider plans to increase production. OPEC meets on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi.In recent days, ministers from Iran, Venezuela and Qatar have come out against plans to boost supplies, while ministers from Indonesia, Nigeria and Kuwait have stated they're still open to increases. Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi hasn’t taken a firm stand yet.