The price of Brent crude oil has fallen below $55 a barrel due to the strength of the US dollar (USD), as well as news that Saudi Arabia would only consider output cuts if other producers outside OPEC reduce it.
Reuters reported that Brent crude oil futures dropped 62 cents to $54.70 a barrel, and US WTI crude was down 87 cents at $45.70 a barrel.
Saudi Arabia Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi stated that the country would only consider output cuts in cooperation with non-OPEC producers.
Meanwhile, analysts at Barclays predict that if OPEC production remains at current levels of around 30 million barrels per day (bpd), the market surplus would expand to 1.3 million bpd from 0.9 million bpd.
Reuters quoted the Bank of America Merrill Lynch report, which said: "In the past 15 years, the global economy was defined by rising commodity prices, a zero interest rate policy, and a weak USD. This cycle has now gone into reverse with a decelerating industrial economy in China and the rise of U.S. shale."
The report added: "A combination of a strong USD, higher interest rates and subdued growth may keep commodity prices in check in 2015."
Meanwhile, China’s February crude oil imports from Iran fell 3.7% from a year ago, to 2.04 million tonnes.