Crude Oil Futures Down

Crude Oil Futures DownCrude Oil Futures Down

Brent crude fell more than $1 to near $78 a barrel on Monday following news that Japan, the world’s fourth-biggest crude importer, had slipped into recession and after comments from the West’s energy watchdog that a return to high oil prices was unlikely soon.

The chances of a pick-up in global oil demand were dealt a blow by the data showing Japan’s economy unexpectedly shrank by an annualized 1.6 percent in the third quarter because of weak consumption and exports, according to Reuters.

On the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for January delivery lost $1.08, or 1.36%, to trade at $78.33 a barrel.

The contract for January delivery closed $1.92 higher on Friday.

London-traded Brent futures fell to $76.76 a barrel on Friday, a level not seen since October 2010.

Elsewhere, on the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for delivery in January shed 90 cents, or 1.18%, to trade at $74.93 a barrel.

All eyes remain on possible OPEC production cuts when the oil cartel meets next week.

Iran’s oil minister accused some OPEC countries on Sunday of making up excuses to justify their refusal to stabilize prices by cutting output, a possible reference to Saudi Arabia after a Saudi official insisted the issue should be left to market forces.