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Oil prices fall, WTI sinks to 5-month low

19 November 2013, 07:06AFP

New York City - Global oil prices fell on Monday, with the New York benchmark contract hitting the lowest level in more than five months amid ballooning US crude-oil supplies.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in December, closed at $93.03 a barrel, a decline of 81 cents from Friday. That was the lowest WTI close since May 31.

In London trade, Brent North Sea crude for January dipped 3c to $108.47 a barrel.

Oil prices were "sliding on signs that markets are well supplied on high levels of production in the US and Saudi Arabia", said Addison Armstrong of Tradition Energy.

Armstrong cited a new report from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative released on Sunday that showed oil exports from Saudi Arabia in September rose to the highest level since November 2005.

WTI has been under pressure from eight consecutive weeks of increases in US crude oil in storage "as the supply side is very healthy", said Robert Yawger of Mizuho Securities USA.

"It is hard to argue the market should be trading higher when you have so much crude coming into the pipe," Yawger added.

Traders also awaited Wednesday's meeting of world powers and Iran in high-stakes talks on Iran's disputed nuclear program, after efforts to clinch a deal last week failed.

The United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, known collectively as the P5+1 group, accuse Iran of using its nuclear programme to build weapons. Iran denies the claim, insisting its programme is for peaceful purposes, but its economy is suffering from sanctions imposed to force Tehran to the negotiating table.

Top diplomats said that they were coming close to an interim agreement under which Iran, a huge producer of oil, would curb or freeze parts of its nuclear program for some relief from crippling sanctions.

"With prospects of an agreement with Iran over its nuclear programme continuing to rise, oil prices on the Brent measure continue to remain under pressure," Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets, said.

"At this rate the geopolitical risk premium runs the risk of melting away. The news that Saudi Arabia exported oil at its highest rate in eight years suggests that the market remains well supplied," he said.

"US oil prices are also struggling to rally in any meaningful way, as US stockpiles continue to remain high and economic data continues to remain average at best."


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