Oil prices have dropped amid concerns of increasing exports from the Middle East members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Brent crude futures were down 44 cents and traded at $49.45 per barrel, while the US crude futures edged down 43 cents at $48.67 a barrel, Reuters reported.

Analysts said that OPEC may continue to focus on defending market share instead of increasing prices by reducing production.

"There are no expectations of freezes or agreements to limit output."

SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop told the news agency: "There are no expectations of freezes or agreements to limit output… there is no expectation of an uplift in prices."

Iran’s representative to OPEC signalled that Tehran is not ready to agree to the oil output freeze proposal and that any discussion to cut production needs to wait until the oil market stabilises.

In a bid to gain market share in Asia, most of the oil producers in Middle East have increased deliveries.

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Concerns over the economy in China also weighed on the demand outlook as data revealed that the country’s official factory activity gauge expanded only marginally in May.

The National Bureau of Statistics said that the country’s official purchasing managers’ index for manufacturing remained at 50.1 last month and the third consecutive month the index remained above 50.