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Oil prices decline for fourth straight week

by Iliyasu Nuhu
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Oil prices were on track for the fourth straight week of decline as they remained little changed in early Asian trade after slipping about 5% to a four month-low on Thursday on worries over global demand.

Brent futures were up 10 cents, or 0.1%, at $77.52 a barrel at 0232 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) was nearly flat at $72.95. Both indices have lost around a sixth of their value over the last four weeks.

“There was little in the way of fresh fundamental developments behind the move. Instead, a break below US$80/bbl appears to have brought a fair amount of technical selling,” ING said in a research note on Friday.

OPEC and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have both predicted supply tightness in the fourth quarter, but some key economic data from around the world this week showed demand was bleaker than forecast.

The oil prices’ decline this week was mainly triggered by a steep rise in U.S. crude inventories and production sustaining at record levels, which analysts say triggered concerns of weak demand in the world’s largest oil consumer amid high output.

JPMorgan commodities research said on Friday its global oil demand tracker showed demand averaged 101.6 million barrels a day in the first half of November, running 200,000 barrels a day lower than its projection for the month.

Analysts said that the recent drop in prices is also likely to make Saudi Arabia extend oil output cuts into 2024.

“There will be growing noise around OPEC policy in the coming weeks with the group set to meet in Vienna on 26 November,” ING said.


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