Oil prices down in Asian trade


SINGAPORE — Oil prices fell in subdued Asian trade Wednesday following sustained speculation about the dim prospects for an Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil production cut in the face of abundant global supplies.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for December delivery fell 52 cents to US$77.42 while Brent crude for December was down 51 cents to US$81.16 in afternoon trade.

Trading volumes were thin in Asian trade with few fresh leads for dealers to track following the Veterans Day public holiday in the United States.

Investors are keeping a close eye on comments by OPEC members ahead of the cartel’s next meeting in Vienna on November 27, with dissent evident in the 12-nation group on the need for a production cutback. Omair attributed the slide in oil prices to oversupply and a weak global economy. He said OPEC would discuss oil prices and ��take appropriate decisions that serve the economic interests of its members�� when they meet at the end of the month. A production cut by the cartel would run against its kingpin Saudi Arabia’s recent price cuts for crude exports to the U.S. market.

The move was seen by market observers as an effort to maintain market share as it faces competition from cheaper oil from U.S. shale fields. Elsewhere, the U.S. Department of Energy’s closely watched weekly report on oil inventories.