Oil barrels

Oil prices have fallen due to an increase in the US dollar value.

Benchmark January Brent futures slipped 90 cents at $43.76 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell $1.26 a barrel to $40.64 a barrel, Reuters reported.

The slip in prices was part of a wider decline in commodities that with concerns over flagging demand in China.

CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler told the news agency: "That seven-month high (in the dollar) flashed a warning sign in people’s faces that the dollar is appreciating."

The US Federal Reserve is set to meet in December and expected to announce a rate increase, for the first rate rise in almost a decade.

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"That seven-month high in the dollar flashed a warning sign in people’s faces that the dollar is appreciating."

The European Central Bank is likely to continue to ease monetary policy.

Due to a stronger dollar value, non-US investors find it profitable to sell their commodities that are dollar-denominated.

Last week, data released by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) revealed that big hedge funds have increased their bets that oil will continue to decline.

Venezuela oil minister Eulogio del Pino said that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) must take action to stabilise the crude market soon.

Over the last 12 months, oil prices have halved after OPEC announced its decision to maintain its production levels, or even increase them in a bid to keep market share.

Image: The slip in oil prices was part of a wider decline in commodities. Photo: courtesy of cooldesign/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.