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Oil price drops into the thirties.

The price of a barrel of OPEC oil has fallen below $40 for the first time in 6 1/2 years, as the oil price slide appears to have resumed due to vast stocks of unsold crude accumulating all around the world.

The price of an OPEC barrel sold on the open market Friday was $39.41. On Monday, the price dropped further to $38.18. The price has dropped 14.1 percent in the last eight trading days.

The last time the price was under $40 was February 25, 2009, when an OPEC barrel sold for $38.95.

An "OPEC barrel" is a composite comprised of one type of oil from each of OPEC's 12 member states. Historically, Iran's sale price has been very close to the OPEC average.

The current price slide is almost uniformly attributed to the huge stocks of unsold crude oil piling up around the world. That, in turn, is the result of several factors: slowing Chinese economic growth (it is still among the highest in the world, but it isn't as high as in recent decades); continued high US production (it is coming down as investment in exploration comes down, but it isn't coming down all that fast); and rising production by such countries as Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iraq (which are intent on locking up market share).

Many analysts also believe the market is anticipating the return of Iran to the market in the new year.

The price of oil has surged and plummeted for decades, but generally staying in the teens to thirties. However, the price took off in 2005, passing $50 for the first time around Now Ruz and passing $60 around Now Ruz 2006, $80 in October 2007, $90 in November 2007 and $100 at Now Ruz 2008. It then bolted to an all-time high of $140.73 on July 3, 2008, before plunging to $33.36 on Christmas Eve 2008, making 2008 a tumultuous, roller-coaster year. The price then began a slow, but inexorable, climb, passing $100 again just before Now Ruz 2011.

It then settled into a period of unusual stability for 3 1/2 years, spending most of the time in the range of $100 to $110.

It was at $100.08 on September 1, 2014. That was the last day it was above $100. The price then dropped like a rock for five months, bottoming out at $41.50 on January 13. Since then, the price has vacillated between $41 and $65--until last week.

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Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Date:Nov 20, 2015
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