West Texas Intermediate crude closed lower Monday after it spiked on reports that OPEC could hold an emergency meeting to deal with the oil price slide. The oil minister of OPEC member Nigeria said the group had discussed the prospect of holding a meeting, the Financial Times reported.
U.S. WTI crude April futures settled down $1.36, at $49.45 a barrel, having briefly touched a session high of $50.99. Benchmark Brent crude was down $1.30 at $59.90, after spiking as high as $60.67. Oil prices more than halved between June and January. The decline accelerated in November when Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies used their influence within OPEC to keep production rates stable, rather than cutting output to prop up prices.
Since Brent reached a low of $45.19 on Jan. 13, prices have picked up. Brent futures jumped to $63 a barrel last week as traders closed longstanding short positions in reaction to a falling U.S. rig count.