Indian basket of crude oils dives to 12-year low

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New Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS) As global oil prices continue their plunge into the new year, the Indian basket of crude oils closed trade on Monday at a 12-year low of $28.73 a barrel, according to official data released here on Tuesday.

The Indian basket had touched a previous monthly low of $28.66 in August 2003.

Crude oil prices maintained their relentless fall, as US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded early on Tuesday at $30.66 per barrel and Brent crude futures declined to $30.66, their lowest since April 2004. Brent and WTI have declined on every day of trading this year with markets expecting supply to surpass demand.

Marking a a 13-year low, the price of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) basket of twelve crudes stood at $27.07 a barrel on Monday, compared to $28.56 on the previous Friday, the organisation’s secretariat said.

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Analysts like Barclays, Macquarie, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) all cut their oil price forecasts for this year on Monday, with the latter saying that prices could fall to as low as $10 a barrel.

“Given that no fundamental relationship is currently driving the oil market towards any equilibrium, prices are being moved almost entirely by financial flows caused by fluctuations in other asset prices, including the USD and equity markets,” SCB said.

“We think prices could fall as low as $10/bbl before most of the money managers in the market conceded that matters had gone too far,” it added.

US crude output increased unexpectedly in week ending New Year to 9.219 million barrels a day according to the US Energy Information Agency.

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Adding to investors’ worries was the lack of signs that US shale oil producers would start to cut production in face of the plunging prices.

With OPEC deciding last December against cutting output, traders are betting the cartel is less likely to cut output now.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu was reported on Tuesday to have said at an energy conference in Abu Dhabi that a couple of OPEC members have requested emergency meeting of the organisation.

He said current market conditions create the need to hold such a meeting.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met global oil and gas experts here last week to discuss ways of boosting investments in exploration and skill development in India at a time of low oil prices.

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Among the foreign invitees to the meeting were British oil major BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley, International Energy Agency (IEA) executive director Fatih Birol, and Royal Dutch Shell’s director (Projects) Harry Brekelmans.

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