West Texas Intermediate and Brent crudes fell, approaching four-year lows, after Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said prices will stabilize.
Futures dropped as much as 1.1 percent in New York after Ali Al-Naimi said tumbling crude prices will stabilize. Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, didn’t agree with Russia, Venezuela and Mexico to curb output at a meeting yesterday in Vienna.
Crude has collapsed into a bear market amid the highest U.S. output in three decades and signs of slowing demand growth. A Bloomberg News survey showed 20 analysts were evenly divided on whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will cut supply. The 12-member group, which pumps about 40 percent of the world’s oil, will discuss its official production target of 30 million barrels a day at tomorrow’s meeting.
“This is a headline driven market,” Bob Yawger, director of the futures division at Mizuho Securities USA Inc. in New York, said by phone. “We are looking for signs of what OPEC is going to do tomorrow and every statement is going to be looked at for clues.”
WTI for January delivery declined 48 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $73.61 a barrel at 9:01 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped to $74.09 yesterday, the lowest close since September 2010. Total volume traded was 18 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. Prices have decreased 25 percent this year.