Economy

Oil extends plunge, USA crude set for longest losing streak since 1984

Oil extends plunge, USA crude set for longest losing streak since 1984

After hitting a four-year high early last month, oil prices have fallen about 20 percent with Brent crude trading Thursday about $71 a barrel.

Brent is down more than 4 percent for the week and approaching 16 percent this quarter.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures fell below $60 a barrel on Friday for the first time since early March.

Oil peaked in early October on concerns that USA sanctions on Iran that came into force this week would deprive the oil market of substantial volumes of crude, draining inventories and bringing shortages in some regions.

In the USA, crude production increased to a record 11.6 million barrels a day last week and stockpiles rose by 5.8 million barrels, according to the Energy Information Administration. That would mark an abrupt end to six months of supply increases, reflecting the prospect that U.S. sanctions on Iran won't be deep enough to prevent another surge of American shale oil creating a new surplus.

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China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) said on Friday that it was still taking oil from Iranian fields in which it has stakes.

"As OPEC exports continue to rise, inventories continue to build which is putting downward pressure on oil prices", analysts at Bernstein Energy said.

"We have seen the United States notification including India in the list of countries granted Significant Reduction Exemption for continued purchase of Iranian crude oil without attracting USA sanctions". "A slowdown in the global economy remains the key downside risk to oil".

Meanwhile, with energy prices slumping, Opec and its allies will discuss scenarios including the possibility of cutting production again next year during a meeting in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, according to delegates. The decline is due to an increase in supply from the U.S. and the OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries).

Earlier this week, Mr. Zanganeh wrote to OPEC complaining that some members of the so-called Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee - which consists of all OPEC and non-OPEC countries - "openly" side with the US regarding sanctions on Iran, The Associated Press reported.


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