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.
i 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)