Oil fell the most in two-and-a-half months amid signals that OPEC and allied crude producers are averse to deepening output cuts when they convene next week.
Futures dropped 5.1 percent in New York on Friday, closing the US benchmark’s poorest weekly performance since early October.
Saudi Arabia probably will indicate to the cartel next week that it is no longer willing to compensate for excessive production by others, according to people familiar with the kingdom’s thinking.
Meanwhile, Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak said it would be better to postpone any new supply caps until April, the Tass news agency reported.
In the US, futures-trading volume was suppressed on the day after the Thanksgiving holiday, increasing the potential for dramatic price moves.
“The OPEC accord with Russia could be fraying a bit,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC. “It undercuts and undermines everyone’s perception of the commitment.”
OPEC and allies, including Russia, are expected to extend the supply pact, rather than make deeper reductions, when they meet in Vienna late next week, a Bloomberg survey showed.
That came as government data showed that the US was a net exporter of crude and refined products for a full month for the first time in at least seven decades.
Despite Friday’s slump, New York-traded futures posted the biggest monthly advance since June amid optimism that the US and China were closing in on a trade accord.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery slipped US$2.94 to settle at US$55.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 4.5 percent for the week.
Brent for January settlement, which expired on Friday, fell US$2.78 to US$60.49 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange, down 3 percent for the week. The global benchmark traded at a US$7.26 premium to WTI.
Natural gas prices capped their biggest November drop since 2001 as forecasts showed no sign of the teeth-chattering US cold needed to boost demand for the heating fuel.
Gas for January delivery fell US$0.22, or 8.8 percent, to US$2.281 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Prices were down more than 13 percent last month.
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