Oil extended losses below $40 a barrel amid speculation a record global glut will be prolonged as OPEC abandoned its long-time strategy of limiting production to control prices.
Futures dropped as much as 1.9 percent in New York after falling 4.2 percent last week. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will keep pumping about 31.5 million barrels a day, President Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said Friday after a meeting in Vienna. The group is setting aside its output quota of 30 million barrels a day, a target breached the past 18 months, until members gather again in June.
Oil has slumped about 40 percent since Saudi Arabia led OPEC’s decision in November 2014 to maintain output and defend market share against higher-cost shale producers. After Friday’s OPEC decision, “everyone does whatever they want,” Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said. Iran is seeking to increase crude exports next year when international sanctions over its nuclear program are removed.
West Texas Intermediate for January delivery declined as much as 77 cents to $39.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $39.53 at 8:48 a.m. Hong Kong time. The contract decreased $1.11 to $39.97 on Friday. The volume of all futures traded was almost three times the 100-day average. Prices are down 26 percent this year.
Brent for January settlement slid as much as 25 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $42.75 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $3.26 to WTI.