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Oil holds above US$50 as Iraq signals break from Opec output plan
[SYDNEY] Oil held above US$50 as Opec member Iraq threatened to derail the group's plan to stabilise crude markets by saying it should be exempt from planned output cuts.
Prices dropped 0.4 per cent after rising 0.4 per cent Friday. Iraq should be exempted from cutting production because it's embroiled in a war with Islamic militants, Oil Minister Jabber Al-Luaibi said Sunday at a news conference in Baghdad.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is trying to woo other producers to join in the group's first output reductions in eight years, a policy shift that members agreed to last month in Algiers. US rigs targeting crude rose for an eighth week, Bakes Hughes Inc said on its website.
Oil has fluctuated near US$50 a barrel amid uncertainty about whether Opec can implement an accord to reduce production when they gather at an official meeting in November. A committee will meet later this month to try to resolve differences over how much individual members should pump.
West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery fell 18 US cents to US$50.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 10:08am in Sydney. Prices on Friday added 22 US cents to US$50.85. Total volume traded was about 52 per cent below the 100-day average.
Brent for December settlement lost 18 US cents to US$51.60 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe Exchange. The contract on Friday increased 40 US cents to US$51.78. The global benchmark traded at a premium of 96 US cents to WTI.