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Further fluctuations predicted for crude prices

Rig counts, demand, contango, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iran and ever-rising supplies from North America: they all point to further fluctuations in crude prices

Oil industry executives have been saying it repeatedly: low prices are bad news, but volatility is at least as damaging. There’s little sign of either one ending soon. An array of forces is bearing down on prices while the market keeps hunting for the level at which production growth in North America will cease or go into reverse. Sentiment among traders lurches from the bullish (usually following the release of Baker Hughes’s weekly rig count numbers, which have been showing a steep fall) to the bearish (usually following the release of the Energy Information Administration’s inventory and supply numbers, which have been showing a steep rise). Saudi Arabia, in charge of the Opec policy to

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