West Texas Intermediate traded near $61 a barrel as Saudi Arabia questioned the need for an output cut, adding to signs OPECs biggest member will defend market share.

Futures were little changed in New York after declining 4.5 percent yesterday, the most since Nov. 28. The market will correct itself, Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi said. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reduced a forecast for how much crude it will need to produce next year by about 300,000 barrels a day to 28.9 million a day, the least since 2003. Brent closed below $65 a barrel yesterday.

Oil is trading in a bear market as the biggest producers in the 12-member group offer discounts to Asian customers amid the highest rate of U.S. output in more than three decades. Kuwait has followed Saudi Arabia and Iraq in cutting export prices after OPEC agreed at a Nov. 27 gathering not to reduce supply.

WTI for January delivery was at $61.18 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 24 cents at 10:55 a.m. in Sydney. The contract fell $2.88 to $60.94 yesterday, the lowest close since July 2009. Prices have decreased 38 percent this year.

Brent for January settlement lost $2.60, or 3.9 percent, to $64.24 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday, the lowest since July 2009. The European benchmark crude ended the session at a premium of $3.30 to WTI.

Source : Bloomberg