Brent falls below $60 for first time since 2009
SINGAPORE - Reuters
REUTERS PhotoBrent crude oil prices fell over $1 per barrel and below $60 for the first time since July 2009 in early European trading today as Chinese factory activity slowed and stumbling emerging market currencies dented demand expectations.
Oil futures have almost halved since June amid rising output and cooling demand, but producer club OPEC has so far resisted calls to cut production to shore up prices.
Data showing activity in China’s factory sector shrank for the first time in seven months in December, adding to a slew of reports showing more fatigue in the world’s No.2 economy, further dragged on oil prices.
“China leaves 2014 on a weak note (and) the calls for further monetary stimulus are getting louder,” Singapore-based Phillip Futures said today.
Analysts said weakening emerging market economies and their currencies were also weighing on oil prices.
In Russia, the central bank hiked its key interest rate by 6.5 percentage points to 17 percent today in an attempt to halt a collapse in the ruble.