“Slid below $45 a barrel”

Oil in London slid below $45 a barrel for the first time since March 2009 on concerns Chinese demand is slowing just as supplies from the U.S. and Iran threaten to swell a global surplus. Brent futures fell as much as 4.8 percent, extending a 7.3 percent drop last week that was the biggest in five months. Commodities sank to the lowest in 16 years on forecasts for the weakest Chinese growth since 1990. Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh vowed to expand output “at any cost,” according to the ministry’s news website. The number of active oil rigs in the U.S. rose for the seventh time in eight weeks, Baker Hughes Inc. data showed Friday. Oil’s worsening global surplus has driven prices down by more than 30 percent since May, prompting hedge funds to cut bullish bets to a five-year low. Iran aims to join leading members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in raising production while U.S. crude stockpiles are almost 100 million barrels above the five-year seasonal average”.

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