Crude oil falls hard amid rallying US dollar
Crude falls close to five-year low Reuters

Oil prices have fallen below $65 per barrel (bbl) for the first time in five years, but prices are being prevented from rising thanks in part to Saudi Arabia's refusal to cut production.

Saudi Arabia, an Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) "swing producer", which can sway the price of oil by increasing or reducing output, made it clear that it had no intention to stop the flow of oil, despite prices reaching major lows.

"Why should we cut production?" said Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi.

Meanwhile, top Opec emissary Rafael Ramirez hit back and said: "That is our job. We want stability in the market and predictability."

"Oil remains under the cosh, hurt by another big rise in US inventories and Saudi production comments taking prices to fresh five year lows with US Light Crude down to $61/barrel and Brent to $64/barrel," said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.

The Brent crude oil contract retraced some recent losses to $64.64 as 0848 GMT while WTI reached $61.38.

"Some supply discipline should kick-in during the second half of 2015, but not enough to significantly reduce swollen inventories built earlier in 2014," said Natalie Rampono and Mark Pervan at ANZ in a research note.

The ANZ analysts also slashed the forecast for oil prices in 2015 by more than 20%. They see Brent averaging $71/bbl and $68/bbl for WTI next year.

Oil prices have fallen by 40% since June this year and by $13/bbl since Opec's November meeting.

"This is a bit of a return to a more normal pattern of trading for us in this time zone," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist for CMC Markets.

"Often we reverse the overnight moves as the shorter-term trading interests take a profitable cut out of their positions."