Oil prices slipped back on early monday morning, falling below $45 a barrel again, as investors booked profits off the back of a good few weeks for buyers of the black stuff.
Brent Crude was trading at $44.60 on Monday morning, down 1.13 per cent from Friday's close. The price had dipped as low as $44.49 at one stage.
“Prices are down on profit taking. Without any major news or catalysts, prices are going to see-saw in the near term,” said Gao Jian, an oil analyst at SCI International.
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Oil prices are 60 per cent higher than they were earlier in the year, when they closed at a low of $27.88 on 20 January, and talk was of them dipping into the teens. Today's sell off, however, suggests the psychological barrier of $45 is too tempting for many investors.
Earlier this month, a meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) failed to strike a deal at Doha to curb oil production. Iran, which has just returned to the international markets after having sanctions lifted, has announced that it will increase its output from 2.8m barrels a day during 2015 to 3.8m by July - a commitment which proved a stumbling block for the other nations.
The failure to agree a deal was widely expected to see the price of oil come crashing down, but Brent Crude has climbed by around five per cent in the week since.