OIL

The Star Early Edition - - MARKETS -

BRENT crude shed more than $3 to a fresh four-year low un­der $75 a bar­rel yes­ter­day after Opec de­cided not to cut pro­duc­tion, de­spite a huge over­sup­ply in world mar­kets.

Bench­mark Brent for Jan­uary was down by $2.96 at $74.79 a bar­rel (R5.16 a litre) in London in the af­ter­noon, after hit­ting a low of $74.36, its low­est since Au­gust 2010. US crude was at $71.07, down $2.62.

Asked whether the oil pro­ducer group had de­cided not to re­duce pro­duc­tion, Saudi Ara­bian Oil Min­is­ter Ali al-Naimi told re­porters: “That is right.”

Oil prices have fallen by more than a third since June as in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion in North Amer­ica from shale oil has over­whelmed de­mand at a time of slug­gish global eco­nomic growth.

“Oil prices are now com­pletely in the hands of the mar­ket,” Do­minic Chirichella, the di­rec­tor of the En­ergy Man­age­ment In­sti­tute in New York said.

The car­tel would meet again in June next year, an Opec del­e­gate said. – Reuters

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