Oil Declines as Analysts Say Global Supply Glut to Linger

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By Mark Shenk and Moming Zhou

Oil slid to the lowest level in more than five years as analysts said a global supply glut will linger through the first half of 2015.

Crude has dropped by more than half since June as U.S. output surged and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to maintain its production ceiling. Saudi Arabia won’t cut its output, though producers outside the group are welcome to do so, Ali Al-Naimi, that country’s oil minister, said at a conference in Abu Dhabi last month.

“The Saudis are providing no support for the market,” Helima Croft, chief commodities strategist at RBC Capital in New York, said by phone. “It looks like they will let prices continue to fall, taking as much non-OPEC production offline as possible.”

Oil’s collapse has been so rapid and so driven by sentiment that forecasters from Bank of America Corp. to UBS AG say there are no clear signs of when the rout will end. The U.S. is pumping the most crude in more than three decades as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing unlock shale reserves, adding to a global supply glut that Qatar estimates at 2 million barrels a day.

Brent for February settlement decreased 19 cents to $50.96 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, the lowest close since April 2009.

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