Oil futures were on course for their sixth straight day of falls on Friday as signs of tensions resurfaced between Saudi Arabia and Iran that could scupper a key supply cut pact while a surge in U.S. crude inventories and muted demand continued to weigh.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $45.57 per barrel at 0817 ET, down 79 cents from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 were down 51 cents at $44.15 a barrel.
At a meeting of OPEC experts last week, Riyadh threatened to raise oil output steeply to bring prices down if Tehran refused to limit its production, a source from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said.
The meeting was intended to work out the details of cuts ahead of the next OPEC meeting on Nov. 30 following a decision to reduce output in Algiers to 32.50-33.0 million barrels per day in order to boost prices.
The dips put crude on the longest losing run since June and, before that, since January, with Brent shedding almost 14 percent since its recent peak in mid-October.
“There has been a very strong retreat and technically, prices are starting to reach oversold levels,” Olivier Jakob of consultancy Petromatrix said.
Analysts said markets were also weighed down by traders pulling out money from futures ahead of the U.S. presidential election, which is seen as a risk to markets.
Global share prices fell to their lowest since early July on Friday on uncertainty over the election outcome. <MKTS/GLOB>
Beyond election concerns, traders said fundamentals were weak, with U.S. crude stocks surging, demand growth low, and doubts that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producer Russia can agree on a meaningful output cut this month.
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