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Oil below $60 as Opec, Russia keep pumping

Brent crude oil traded below $60 a barrel yesterday, near five-and-a-half-year lows, as major oil producers signalled they would maintain output despite a supply glut and faltering demand in Russia and Europe.

Core Gulf Opec members have said they are prepared to wait as long as a year for the market to stabilise, undercutting hopes they will step it to stem crude price losses.

Oil prices have almost halved over the last six months as increasing volumes of light, high-quality oil from North America from shale have overwhelmed demand.

“Every day now you have some Gulf Opec member actively trying to talk the market down,” said Olivier Jakob, oil analyst at Petromatrix. “Opec is trying to choke US oil producers.”

Brent for February was down 50 cents at $59.51 a barrel by 0935 GMT. The January Brent contract, which expired in the prior session, hit a low of $58.50 on Tuesday – the weakest since May 2009.

US crude dropped 80c to $55.13 a barrel after touching the lowest since May 2009 at $53.60 on Tuesday.

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