LONDON (Reuters) -Oil prices fell more than a dollar to below $52 a barrel on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said OPEC production cuts were working well and there was no need for an emergency meeting of the producer group.
By 1233 GMT on Tuesday, U.S. crude was $1.09 lower at $51.90, while Brent futures shed 91 cents to $52.21.
U.S. crude was barely above a 19-month low of $51.56 hit lost week, which took losses since the end of last year to around 15 percent.
“We took measures in October in Doha and measures in Abuja (in December) and I believe these measures are working well. Inventories in the fourth quarter have come down … which puts the market closer to balance,” Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said in New Delhi.
“There is no need to panic.”
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has agreed a first production cut of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), which took effect from November 1, and a second of 500,000 bpd, scheduled from February 1.
There has been speculation OPEC could hold an emergency meeting before its next scheduled conference on March 15.
Venezuelan Energy and Mines Minister Rafel Ramirez has said oil prices had fallen “too much” and that he would favor an extra meeting.
Other commodities, which have also had a rocky start to the year, remained under pressure, with zinc falling around 1.4 percent.
“We should not underestimate the global mood on commodities,” said Frederic Lasserre of SG CIB in Paris. “There is not as much appetite for commodities any more.”
On oil, he predicted the market would test $50 in the near term, but then fresh buying interest could emerge.
Analysts said OPEC would also brake the slide and deeper price falls could drive OPEC into implementing further cuts.
“We don’t really see a collapse in prices. The further it goes down, the more hesitant the market will be about going even further,” said Eoin O’Callaghan of BNP Paribas. “OPEC still has an impact on the market.”