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Oil Price Plunges after OPEC Rollover Decision

Source: 11/28/2014, Location: Asia

The decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to maintain its oil output at the current level has sent prices plunging in Asian markets, causing oil-linked currencies to tumble as well.

Oil prices continued their slide on Friday with Brent crude for next January delivery skidding 1.3 cents to $71.27 a barrel to slump to the lowest level in more than four years.

The US benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, for January was at $68.76 a barrel, showing a drop of 97 cents from its settle price on Thursday.

The OPEC decision not to slash output also pushed the shares in Asian energy stocks to tumble and caused the Russian money, ruble, to weaken 2.7 percent versus the dollar.

At its 166th ministerial meeting held in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Thursday, OPEC “decided to maintain the production level of 30 million barrels per day” where it has stood for three years.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says Caracas will keep seeking a cut in oil production until prices rebound to $100 per barrel.

“We’re going to be in permanent contact within the [Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] OPEC,” Maduro said on Thursday night.

He said that Venezuela, which sits on the world’s largest crude reserves, considers $100 a barrel a fair price for oil.

“We have not succeeded yet, but… we will continue to try until prices return to where they should be, at around $100 per barrel,” he added.

OPEC was under pressure from some of its members, notably Venezuela and Ecuador, to cut output to reduce supplies and push prices back up. However, the call was rejected by Persian Gulf members, including Saudi Arabia.

OPEC, a Vienna-based intergovernmental organization of 12 oil-producing countries, pumps out about 40 percent of the world’s oil.

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