Oil prices hit multi-year lows as OPEC decision weighs

Oil prices hit multi-year lows as OPEC decision weighsSINGAPORE: Oil prices fell further in Asia today to new multi-year lows, continuing a steep sell off sparked by OPEC’s decision to maintain crude output in an oversupplied market.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery dipped USD 1.55 in early Asian trading to USD 64.60, its lowest intraday level since July 2009.

Brent crude for January sank USD 1.84 to USD 68.31, below the psychologically important USD 70 level.

“Negative actions in the oil market are continuing today.

Investors see crude as remaining vulnerable after last week’s OPEC announcement,” Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told AFP.

“We have not yet seen any piece of news or development that could trigger a bottoming out phase in oil prices,” he added.

The unabated price plunge comes after the 12-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) opted Thursday to maintain its collective output ceiling at 30 million barrels per day, where it has stood for three years.

OPEC refused to cut production despite a glut of supplies that has sent prices tumbling by more than a third since June, with analysts warning of further falls to come.

The news dragged WTI down USD 7.54 in New York on Friday, compared with the settlement price on Wednesday, to end at USD 66.15 a barrel. US floor trading was closed Thursday for a holiday.

Brent meanwhile had settled at USD 70.15 on Friday, down USD 2.43 from Thursday’s close. It had earlier touched USD 67.90, its lowest intraday price since February 2010. –AFP

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