* Ahead of meeting, OPEC says output declined in November
* U.S. oil output to rise faster than previously
* Weak U.S. trade gap data hems in oil prices
* Coming up: API oil data, 4:30 p.m. EST Tuesday
(Adds detail throughout, updates prices)
By Joshua Schneyer and Robert Gibbons
NEW YORK, Dec 11 Oil futures rose modestly on
Tuesday after OPEC said its members pumped less oil last month
and as a weaker U.S. currency helped to firm dollar-denominated
Brent crude rose for a second day and U.S. crude
rose for the first time in six trading sessions.
OPEC ministers meet in Vienna on Wednesday. Most analysts do
not expect the oil exporting countries to change their output
quotas from a combined 30 million barrels per day.
While they produced above quota levels, OPEC states pumped
less oil last month, down 210,000 barrels per day to 30.78
million barrels per day, the group said in a monthly report on
The dollar index weakened by more than 0.3 percent as
the euro rose and investors awaited a statement following the
U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting, with some
speculation the Fed could signal more aggressive quantitative
easing on Wednesday.
"We've seen some support from a weaker dollar," Marc Ground
of Standard Bank commodities research said in a note.
Brent January crude rose 68 cents to settle at
$108.01 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures rose 23 cents to
settle at $85.79, increasing Brent's premium to U.S. futures to
more than $22 a barrel. CL-LCO1=R
Even as OPEC reported that it produced less oil last month,
a monthly short-term energy outlook from the U.S. Energy
Information Administration on Tuesday forecast that U.S. oil
production would expand at a faster-than-expected pace through
The EIA report forecast that U.S. oil output would rise next
year to the highest levels since 1992, gaining by some 700,000
barrels per day to 7.1 million barrels a day, a larger jump than
it had previously predicted.
Data on Tuesday also showed the U.S. trade deficit widened
in October as exports suffered the biggest drop in nearly four
years, indicating slowing global demand was spilling over into
the lackluster U.S. economy and helping to hem in oil prices.
Crude got a boost from news of a sharp rise in German
analyst and investor sentiment so far in December. In a study
from Manheim-based think tank ZEW, sentiment turned positive for
the first time since May in the euro zone's largest
The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee kicked off a two-day
policy meeting against the backdrop of negotiations between the
White House and Republican leaders of the House of
Representatives on a budget deal to avoid looming mandated tax
hikes and spending cuts, the so-called fiscal cliff.
Investors fear that if the tax increases and spending cuts
now set for 2013 are not averted, the U.S. economy could be
pushed back into recession.
On Tuesday, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said he
was "optimistic" a deal could be reached, though he reported no
concrete progress in the talks.
While noting concerns about oversupply, OPEC said its
production fell last month. Top exporter Saudi Arabia told OPEC
it cut output by 230,000 bpd to 9.49 million bpd.
OPEC left its 2013 world demand growth forecast unchanged at
770,000 bpd, while the U.S. Energy Information Administration
(EIA), in a separate report on Tuesday, raised its 2013
expectations by 70,000 bpd to 960,000 bpd.
Traders will be monitoring any change in OPEC production
targets on Wednesday, the same day the U.S. EIA will release its
weekly report on domestic oil inventories.
The industry group American Petroleum Institute will release
its own inventory data first, on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. EST (2130
U.S. crude oil stockpiles are expected to have fallen last
week, while distillate and gasoline stockpiles increased, a
Reuters survey of analysts showed.
(Additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in London and Florence
Tan in Singapore; Editing by Marguerita Choy, David Gregorio and