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Oil prices rebound from 5-year lows

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in January closed at $69.00 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, rising $2.85 from Friday’s closing level, which hit the lowest mark since September 2009.

In pre-market electronic trading, WTI sank as low as $63.72, a level last seen in July 2009.

In London, Brent oil for January delivery rose $2.39 to settle at $72.54 a barrel. Earlier it fell to $67.53 a barrel.

Prices have been on a slide since June driven by rising supplies and slow demand growth around the world. The fall accelerated last week on OPEC’s decision to maintain its output ceiling despite the global glut.

“The petroleum markets have turned higher from lower levels plumbed during overnight trade… based on a technical evaluation that a $9.00 drop since Wednesday was sufficient to express disappointment over OPEC’s decision,” said Timothy Evans of Citi Futures.

“We’ll have to see if the gains stick as a similar Friday rally attempt was rejected,” he added.

Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates said the market was still looking at the potential impact of OPEC’s unchanged policy, including on future US production of high-cost shale crude, which could suffer if prices continue to fall.

“Now that OPEC has declared its price war on oil with non-OPEC members, people are looking at whether the growth rate of oil production in the US would be tempered by the lower oil prices,” he said.

He also said that there was “some short covering” as investors who had bet on falling oil prices locked in gains after their steep declines.

Lipow predicted that US oil production would continue to rise over the next 12 to 18 months as investments already under way come on line. “Then we’ll see perhaps a slowing in the growth in the US,” he said.

Phil Flynn of Price Futures Group pointed to other negatives for prices, like Monday’s data showing faltering manufacturing in China, the world’s largest energy consumer, and in the 18-nation eurozone.

“On top of that you have Moody’s downgrading Japan and the Swiss rejecting its referendum on holding more of their reserves in gold and you have the makings of a commodity market meltdown,” he said.

“Oil has already had its biggest drop since 2008 and unless we find some stability in commodity prices soon things could get very ugly.” – AFP



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