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Oil price slumps to four-year low

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The price of Brent crude oil edged above $77 on Friday but remained close to its new four-year low as demand fears and weak Chinese data weighed on the commodity.

The last quarter has seen oil prices tumble, with Brent crude falling from $113.6 per barrel at its peak in July, to less than $80 in October.

Brent has dropped for eight weeks in a row, its longest weekly losing streak since records began in 1988, according to data from Reuters. This week it has fallen almost 7 per cent.

An acceleration in production of alternative energy, including shale in the US, forced the International Energy Agency to cut oil demand forecasts earlier this month. Global growth worries and the slowdown in China have also had an impact on prices.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets later this month to discuss the global oil market. One member, Saudi Arabia, expects to make losses if prices fall below $80.

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