Oil Slides Toward Worst Loss in a Decade as Russia Mixes Signals

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WTI oil price slides under $50 per barrel

This kept more Iranian crude in the market instead of driving exports from Riyadh's arch-rival down to zero and bringing down the price per barrel to $51.18.

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih and Nigerian Energy Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu told the press in Abuja that there were confident that OPEC and its allies would succeed in stabilizing crude oil prices. "I think people know that leaving the market to its own devices with no clarity and no collective decision to balance the market is not helping".

But oil trade, vital for Russian economy, is conducted in U.S. dollars, a "monopoly" Russia's President Vladimir Putin wants to end.

The price of oil has fallen by just over a fifth since the end of October and by almost a third over the past two months, in declines not seen since 2008. The more-active February contract added 74 cents to $59.84 a barrel.

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Oil slid toward the deepest monthly loss since the worldwide financial crisis a decade ago as Russian Federation signaled it may resist production caps at a crucial OPEC gathering next week.

Traders, however, are still focused on the expected meeting at the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina between Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Another meeting with Russian oil companies was held on Tuesday. Trump has backed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite calls from many US politicians to impose stiff sanctions on Riyadh.

The market outlook is strikingly similar to 2014, with production from USA shale surging while consumption growth slows as the global economy falters.

Russia's energy ministry is discussing potential oil production cuts with local producers and will continue talks to come up with a position by the OPEC/non-OPEC meeting in early December, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said last week. The global benchmark crude traded at an $8.45 premium to WTI. That's an area that should be resistance based not only upon a large, round, psychologically significant figure, but the fact that it was a major negative candle that formed last Friday at that level is also a sign that there will be a lot of selling pressure there.

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However, one of the most important determinants of oil prices is OPEC.

Saudi Arabia benefits by drilling the cheapest oil in the world because of low capital spending and absence of gross tax on oil. According to Reuters, Moscow intends to reduce oil production gradually, and at the moment it is trading with Saudi Arabia with respect to time and volume reduction.

Saudi Arabia knows full well that it needs to bank on the USA support at the hard moment when its role in Khashoggi killing earned it worldwide condemnation.

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