Oil prices steadied on Tuesday after a technical rout the previous day wiped more than 60 cents off a barrel of crude, although prices remain firm on expectations OPEC will curb output soon. U.S. benchmark light, sweet crude stood 12 cents up at $27.44 a barrel, after losing 63 cents in New York on Monday. London's Brent crude futures dropped 74 cents to $24.43 a barrel. OPEC officials have said recently there is consensus among the cartel's 11 members for output restraints as peak winter demand dwindles with warmer spring temperatures in the second quarter.
Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah was quoted as saying on Monday that OPEC should cut by at least two million barrels per day (bpd) to avoid any major price slump, a figure also preferred by Kuwait. OPEC's biggest producer, Saudi Arabia
, has said that consensus was building for a reduction of 1.5 million bpd. OPEC ministers will gather for an extraordinary meeting to discuss production policy in Vienna on January 17. - (Reuters)