Brent joins other oil benchmarks below $80 a barrel
Brent crude fell below US$80 a barrel for the first time in more than four years on Thursday, joining the Asian regional benchmarks Oman and Dubai crude and the North American West Texas Intermediate, which earlier passed that milestone.
Brent futures for January delivery settled at $77.18 a barrel, their lowest since October 2011 and more than 30 per cent down on the peak this year above $115, where it traded in July.
The continued weakness of oil prices will put further pressure on ministers from Opec, who are due to meet at their regularly scheduled meeting in Vienna on November 27.
So far, the oil authorities in Saudi Arabia, the most powerful member of Opec, have resisted any call for emergency meetings or pledges to cut production, saying the weakness is probably only temporary.
The Saudis continue to maintain that the market is preeminent and that their policy has been and remains mainly focused on continuity of supply.
“Saudi oil policy has remained constant for the past few decades and it has not changed today,” the Saudi oil minister Ali Al Naimi was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying on Thursday.
“Saudi Arabia does not set the oil price. The market sets the price.
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Updated: November 13, 2014 04:00 AM