Investing.com – Oil bears have a rather unlikely ally: Saudi Arabia.
The world’s top oil exporter, facing global outrage over suspicions it engineered the murder of a journalist critical of the kingdom’s heir, offered on Tuesday to pump more crude and at a faster rate amid jitters of a supply squeeze from export sanctions against Iran beginning in two weeks.
The new Saudi stance on supply, along with a fifth-weekly build in U.S. crude stockpiles anticipated for last week and a global stock market rout, hammered oil prices down nearly 5% on the day.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude settled at $66.43 a barrel, down $2.93, or 4.2%, for its biggest daily loss in three months. It had earlier hit a session low of $65.97, less than a dollar from oil bears’ target of $65.
Brent, the global benchmark for oil, was at $76.61 a barrel by 2:59 PM ET (18:59 GMT), down $3.22, or 4%.
Just three weeks ago, WTI hit November 2014 highs of $76.47 while Brent soared to four-year highs of $86.73.
In early September, OPEC and industry sources said Saudi Arabia was trying to keep oil at between $70 and $80 per barrel, partly to maximize revenue.
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