US Oil Hits 12-Year Low On Stockpile Surge, Risk Aversion


NEW YORK, Feb 11 (Reuters) - U.S. crude slid on Thursday, hitting 12-year lows as domestic stockpiles grew, Goldman Sachs called for depressed prices until the second half of the year and investors fled from equities and other risky assets into safe havens such as gold.

Prices came off session lows in post-settlement trade after the Wall Street Journal quoted UAE's energy minister as saying OPEC was ready to cooperate on production cuts. Most traders were skeptical, noting that Venezuela and Russia recently called in vain for OPEC and other major oil producers to cut output.

"I will say this is the first time the UAE is weighing in" on a production cut call, said John Kilduff, partner at New York energy hedge fund Again Capital. "It's the first time a Gulf producer is saying something."

The market "was vulnerable to a headline risk and it seems to have got it. Otherwise there's nothing new."

Earlier, U.S. crude plumbed a new 2003 low and Brent fell below $30 a barrel after data showing strong, steady growth in U.S. and global oil inventories.

Both benchmarks extended steep weekly slides, with U.S. crude down 14 percent and Brent 10 percent for the week so far.

U.S. crude settled down $1.24, or 4.5 percent, at $26.21 a barrel. It fell in post-settlement trade to a 12-year low of $26.05, before paring losses after the Journal headline on OPEC.


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