[HONG KONG] Oil slipped as US drillers added rigs for a sixth straight week, extending declines below US$50 after Russia cast doubt over a deal any time soon with Opec over output cuts.
Futures lost as much as 1.3 per cent in New York after dropping 1.3 per cent on Friday. The number of active US oil rigs climbed to the highest since February, rising by 3 to 428, according to Baker Hughes Inc data. Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak said he doesn't expect to sign a deal with Opec during the World Energy Congress this week in Istanbul following the group's agreement last month in Algiers to cut output.
Oil has gained about 10 per cent since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed Sept 28 to cut production for the first time in eight years. Opec members will meet this week for talks on implementing the deal and will decide on quotas at the group's official meeting in Vienna on Nov 30.
US output halted its drop to the lowest in more than two years as producers haven't reduced drilling activity since the end of June.
"That turnaround in the US is threatening to derail the current rally," Michael McCarthy, a chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said by phone from Sydney. "Any sustained move above US$50 will only bring more of those rigs off the sidelines, and I think that's one of the reasons the market is getting a sense we're near a top at the moment."
West Texas Intermediate for November delivery lost as much as 66 US cents to US$49.15 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at US$49.24 a barrel as of 7:55am Hong Kong time. Prices slipped 63 US cents to close at US$49.81 a barrel on Friday.
Total volume traded was about 4 per cent above the 100-day average. Prices climbed 3.3 per cent last week.
Brent for December settlement fell as much as 63 US cents, or 1.2 per cent, to US$51.30 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract declined 58 US cents, or 1.1 per cent, to US$51.93 a barrel on Friday.
The global benchmark crude traded at a US$1.54 premium to WTI for the same month.