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Oil Heads for Worst Week Since March as OPEC Seen Fueling Glut

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(Bloomberg) — Oil headed for the biggest weekly decline since March amid speculation OPEC’s decision to effectively scrap production targets will keep the market oversupplied.
Futures fell as much as 0.9 percent in New York and have dropped 8.8 percent this week. Prices are down for a sixth day, the longest losing streak in almost nine months, since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries chose not to curb output at its Dec. 4 meeting. Production rose to a three-year high in November, the group said in a report Thursday, as surging Iraqi volumes more than offset a pullback by Saudi Arabia.
Oil prices have slumped to levels last seen during the global financial crisis as OPEC’s strategy of defending market share against higher-cost producers fueled a record surplus estimated by the International Energy Agency at almost 3 billion barrels. ConocoPhillips will reduce capital spending by 25 percent next year to protect the highest dividend yield among major U.S. producers, the Houston-based company said Thursday.
“OPEC’s output in November indicates that the global supply glut is exacerbating,” Will Yun, a commodities analyst at Hyundai Futures Corp. in Seoul, said by phone. “It’s hard to find any bullish elements from the demand side. Oil may plunge to near $30 a barrel.”
West Texas Intermediate for January delivery declined as much as 33 cents to $36.43 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $36.46 at 11:47 a.m. Seoul time. The contract decreased 40 cents to $36.76 on Thursday, the lowest close since February 2009. The volume of all futures traded was 30 percent below the 100-day average.
Brent for January settlement slid as much as 28 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $39.45 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It has lost 8.3 percent this week, the most since March. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $3 to WTI.
To contact the reporter on this story: Heesu Lee in Seoul at hlee425@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ramsey Al-Rikabi at ralrikabi@bloomberg.net Yee Kai Pin

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