As the last trading day of 2023 winds up, crude oil prices are set to end the year about 10 per cent lower, the first annual decline in two years amid geopolitical concerns, production cuts, and global measures to rein in inflation-triggered wild price fluctuations.
Brent crude futures were up to $77.72 a barrel at 10:10 am on Friday, the last trading day of 2023, while the U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures traded at $72.35.
On Friday, oil prices strengthened after falling 3 per cent the previous day as more shipping firms prepared to transit the Red Sea route.
Major firms had stopped using Red Sea routes after Yemen’s Houthi militant group began targeting vessels.
Still, both benchmarks are on track to close at the lowest year-end levels since 2020, when the pandemic affected demand and sent prices nosediving.
Also, the production cuts by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC and OPEC +, with Nigeria as a member, have proved insufficient to prop up prices, with the benchmarks declining nearly 20 per cent from their highest level this year.
Earlier, Skyblast tv reported that Angola announced its exit from OPEC because the group no longer met its interests.