Benchmark Brent crude oil price continues to struggle

A Conoco North Sea oil platform
A Conoco North Sea oil platform

22 December 2014 3.00pm update

Crude oil prices fell again today – extending a fourth weekly decline on concern OPEC’s refusal to cut production will worsen a global glut.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali Alp-Naimi said OPEC’s biggest producer will seek to maintain market share. Iraq plans to boost its production next year, Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said. Trading volatility stayed at the highest level in more than three years.

“Nothing fundamentally has changed,” said Tariq Zahir, a New York-based commodity fund manager at Tyche Capital Advisors. “The Saudis have been saying that they are not going to cut production. We are going to see some violent trading with very high volatility.”

Oil has slumped about 21% since OPEC decided against cutting its production target last month, prompting a plunge in the value of currencies from the Russian ruble to the Norwegian krone.

Brent for February settlement dropped 81 cents, or 1.3%, to $60.57 in earlier trading today. The European benchmark Brent crude traded at a premium of $4.55 to West Texas Intermediate. Prices have fallen about 45% this year – the largest drop since 2008.

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