OIL PRICES DOWN
Oil prices slid to the lowest point in more than five years Friday as worries about a global glut of oil continued to weigh on the market.
Light, sweet crude oil for January delivery skidded 97 cents, or 1.5%, to $65.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest settlement since July 29, 2009. Prices fell 0.5% this week and have dropped nine of the past 10 weeks.
Brent, the global benchmark, fell 57 cents, or 0.8%, to $69.07 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, the lowest level since Oct. 7, 2009. Brent lost 1.5% on the week.
Oil futures have plunged in recent months as strong supply growth has outpaced moderate demand.
Saudi Arabia on Thursday lowered the price for its oil in the U.S., indicating that the country is focused on maintaining its market share in a low-price environment rather than cutting production to reduce the global surplus of crude.
"The Saudi Arabia news really caught people a little off-guard here," said Tariq Zahir, managing member of Tyche Capital Advisors.
Prices are likely to stay under pressure until traders see indications that supplies will drop as producers pull back on drilling or new investments, said Ed Kevelson, head of U.S. energy over-the-counter sales at brokerage Newedge USA, which is owned by Société Générale .
"The market's been searching for a true bottom," he said, but so far, "I don't think the price action that we're seeing implies a bottom."
Norway's Statoil AS A said Friday that it would idle three oil-drilling rigs for longer than previously planned.
The U.S. added a seasonally adjusted 321,000 jobs last month, the strongest month of hiring since January 2012, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a gain of 230,000.
Higher employment can lead to stronger demand for petroleum products, particularly gasoline, as more commuters drive to work.
"Confidence is going to build—more people are going to be out there using energy" in the U.S., said Carl Larry, director of oil and gas for Frost & Sullivan. However, he said, "oil prices keep going down because the rest of the world is not getting that kind of demand."
January reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, dropped 2.14 cents, or 1.2%, to $1.7734 a gallon, the lowest level since Oct. 9, 2009. Prices are down 3% on the week.
January diesel fell 0.99 cent, or 0.5%, to $2.1078 a gallon, the lowest settlement since Sept. 22, 2010. Prices fell 2.5% this week.
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