Brent fell 44 cents to $51.77 a barrel by 0213 GMT after touching an intraday low of $51.50, the lowest since February 2. London-traded Brent futures dropped $2.24, or 4.41%, last week, the fifth straight weekly decline.
Russian oil shipments make up just a tiny 1 percent of total US crude imports, which still average more than 7m b/d, despite the vast surge in US crude production in the past 5 years, the newspaper wrote.
The showdown between Iran and Saudi Arabia within Opec may not be inevitable, however, as many analysts reckon the minister’s output forecast is too optimistic. Iran reportedly hoards 30 million barrels of oil in its reserves ready for export.
While official data on Friday suggested that U.S. oil production peaked in March, the oil rig count-a rough proxy for activity in the industry-had increased in the past week, according to Baker Hughes Inc.
Crude oil is falling to new lows.
WTI for September delivery rose 20 cents to $45.37/bbl in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 7:45 a.m. Singapore time.
Oil production companies have been increasing the number of rigs they have drilling for crude in recent weeks.
US crude was down $US1.61, or 2.4 per cent, $US45.97.
A key private economic indictor on the Chinese manufacturing sector, Caixin’s purchasing managers index, plunged in July to a two-year low of 47.8, deeper into contraction territory. It was the lowest reading since July 2013.
West Texas Intermediate oil posted its worst monthly decline of 2015, down 21%.
“The main oil demand growth engine of the world [is China, and it] may not be leading the global oil rebalancing effort anytime soon”, wrote Dominick Chirichella, analyst at the Energy Management Institute, in a note.
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was at 97.50 early on Monday, up 0.2% on the day.