U.S. crude oil prices fell to three-year lows last week, and top oil analysts say that nothing OPEC does in response will halt the falling prices.
Prices have dropped amid bulging supply and sluggish demand. U.S. oil output has reached the highest level in at least 31 years. And stagnant economies in the eurozone and Japan are depressing oil demand there.
December West Texas Intermediate crude contracts settled at $77.08 a barrel on the Nymex Wednesday, after hitting a three-year low of $75.84 last week.
Speculation abounds that OPEC might announce production cuts at is Nov. 27 meeting. But "OPEC cannot and will not take the pain necessary to correct the imbalance" between supply and demand, Gary Ross, CEO of Pira Energy Group, told the Financial Times
Saudi Arabia has shown in recent weeks that it is more eager to slash prices than production, as it seeks to retain market share. It has recently reduced prices to customers around the world.
Esteemed energy economist Philip Verleger predicted in a commentary obtained by the Times that Brent crude will slide at least to around $70. December Brent futures settled at $80.04 Wednesday.
Oil prices are falling Wednesday, despite OPEC's announcement that its production shrank in October by the largest amount since March.
"The factors that brought us down here are still the main focus," Gene McGillian, a senior analyst at Tradition Energy, told Bloomberg
"Even though OPEC said it cut production, we continue to have fears that we have a global supply glut. We can see another build in U.S. stockpiles this week."
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