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Oil Futures Settle Lower For 9th Straight Session

Crude oil futures drifted lower on Thursday, extending losses to a ninth straight session, as concerns over rising inventories and economic uncertainty continued to weigh on the commodity.

Oil prices had edged higher earlier in the session amid hopes the OPEC would signal a production cut in 2019 to halt crude's slide.

The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, released on Wednesday, had showed crude stockpiles in the U.S. to have risen for a seventh consecutive week. More importantly, six of the seven increases turned out to be much more than what analysts had expected.

Although U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil came into effect from November 4, the rise in crude inventories and the U.S. government's decision to grant exemptions to eight countries, including India and China, allowing them to temporarily continue buying Iranian oil, have significantly eased worries about any supply shortage in the market.

Meanwhile, during their forthcoming meeting this Sunday, ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies are expected to discuss the possibility of cutting production again next year to support oil prices at $70 a barrel.

Crude oil futures for December ended down $1.00, or 1.6%, at $60.67 a barrel, the lowest settlement price in about eight months.

On Wednesday, crude oil futures ended down $0.54, or 0.9%, at $61.67 a barrel.

With today's decline, crude oil futures have shed as much as 21% from early October levels.

Ahead of sanctions on Iranian oil, Saudi Arabia and Russia were increasing oil production to ensure the supply is not disrupted due to loss of Iranian oil post November. U.S. has been increasing output over the past several weeks.

The Trump administration's decision to allow eight countries to continue importing oil from Iran and concerns about likely drop in crude demand in the short term due to the impact of the ongoing U.S.- China trade disputes on the global economy have pushed oil prices down to multi-month lows.

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