Oil prices fell in Asia Wednesday as investors booked profits from recent gains, but stayed above $46 on hopes producers would decide to freeze output at a meeting next month.
Prices closed at five-week highs overnight, bolstered by a weaker dollar and after remarks by OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC rival Russia on cooperation to stabilize prices, which could include an output freeze.
US crude climbed 1.8 percent to settle at $46.48 a barrel in New York and Brent also advanced 1.8 percent to close at 49.23 in London on Tuesday.
Both contracts were down in Asian trade on Wednesday as investors booked some profits, but analysts said the decline was tempered by buying in anticipation that prices would still go higher.
“Yes, there is an element of profit taking initially. However it looks as though… Asian traders have used that profit taking move down to add to long positions,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.
At around 0700 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in September was down 25 cents, or 0.54 percent, at $46.33 and Brent crude for October fell 41 cents, or 0.83 percent, to $48.82 a barrel.
Prices have surged by as much as 18 percent after closing below $40 a barrel on August 2 for the first time since April and falling into a bear market.
Analysts expect prices to fluctuate ahead of the September informal meeting in Algeria involving members and non-members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Saudi oil minister Khalid al-Falih last week suggested that discussions could include actions to stabilize prices — widely seen as a suggestion that OPEC could revive talks on trimming high output levels.