Oil prices edged up in Asia today after falling sharply in the previous session, as analysts predicted increased volatility and no end in sight this year to tumbling prices.
US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery rose 73 cents to $54.84, while Brent crude for February gained 32 cents to $59.59.
WTI had dived yesterday by $2.36 to its lowest since May 2009, while Brent tumbled $1.91.
Crude prices have plunged about 50% since June due to plentiful supplies, a stronger dollar and weak demand as the global economy struggles, analysts say.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the oil producers group that supplies about 40% of the world’s crude oil, has so far declined to cut output to curb the price plunge.
Saudi Arabia, the leading OPEC producer, said yesterday that competitive pressures prevent it from reducing output, and the kingdom can weather falling prices.
“It is difficult, or even impossible, for Saudi Arabia or OPEC to undertake any measure that would lead to a reduction in (their) share of the market and an increase in that of others” who do not belong to the cartel, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi stated.