Oil slide persists, Indian basket nears $46 level

New Delhi/New York, Aug 21 (IANS) The Indian basket of crude oil fell below the $47 a barrel mark as prices continued to plummet in the global markets, with some key benchmarks like Western Texas Intermediate and Brent logging the longest weekly loss since 1986.

The Indian basket, comprising 73 percent sour-grade Dubai and Oman crude, and the balance in sweet-grade Brent, fell to $46.36 on Thursday — the lowest since $43.36 in January — and the latest drop in the global markets is set to lower it even further.

The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) closed at $44.13 a barrel on Thursday, compared to $45.39 on Wednesday.

US oil prices went towards their eighth consecutive week of falls on Friday, the longest downwards streak since 1986, after a sharp drop in Chinese manufacturing fuelled market concern.

Oil prices dived as a US government report showed that the crude stockpiles of last week increased unexpectedly.

US crude for October delivery traded early on Friday at $41.02 a barrel, while Brent oil was down 40 cents over Thursday at $46.22 a barrel.

In a move to deal with current economic weaknesses, the Chinese central bank lowered its daily reference rate by 1.9 percent last week, rocking currency markets globally and affecting also the rupee.

India’s Reserve Bank governor Raghuram Rajan said on Thursday that the recent devaluation of the Chinese currency poses a risk only if the depreciation continues for “longer term”.

India’s exports in July fell by 10.30 percent at $231.37 billion from $257.92 billion during July last year.

The downturn is a fallout of the prolonged worldwide economic slowdown, and a historic plunge in oil prices that has affected the price of petroleum products.

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