Brent crude slumps to $61.95

Brent crude slumps to $61.95

Oil prices slumped to 2018 lows this morning in choppy trading, pulled down an emerging crude supply overhang amid a bleak economic outlook.

The fall came even as markets expect the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to start withholding supply after a meeting planned for December 6.

Brent crude oil futures hit their lowest since December 2017 at $61.52 per barrel, before recovering to $61.88 by 0622 GMT. That was still 72 cents, or 1.2% below their last close.

WTI crude futures slumped by 2.5%, to $53.29 a barrel, after coming within 5 cents of an October 2017 low reached earlier in the week.

Oil prices have plunged by around 30% since their last peaks in early October, as global production started to exceed consumption in the fourth quarter of this year, ending a period of undersupply that started in the first quarter of 2017, according to data in Refinitiv Eikon.

Adjusting to lower demand, top crude exporter Saudi Arabia said yesterday that it may reduce supply. "We will not sell oil that customers don't need," Reuters cited Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih as saying.

Saudi Arabia is pushing OPEC to cut oil supply by as much as 1.4 million bpd to prevent a supply glut.

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