Oil hits four-year low ahead of Opec meeting – business live

All the latest business and financial developments.

Brent crude falls, as Opec unlikely to cut output <- details start here
Coming up: General strike in Greece; German inflation and unemployment

9.09am GMT

Just in: Germany’s unemployment total had fallen again as its labour market shrugs off the economy’s slowdown.

German unemployment down 14k in November. Jobless rate steady at new record low of 6.6% (Oct rev from 6.7% to 6.6%) http://t.co/IB241xZiZT

8.58am GMT

The oil price is sliding rapidly to fresh four-year lows, as traders come to the conclusion that OPEC will agree not to cut output at today’s meeting in Vienna.

Media scrum building ahead of the arrival of opec ministers. pic.twitter.com/z7J9MyuZrk

Now in the media holding pen (the stairwell) before start of opec meeting pic.twitter.com/fZ5uzDO77f

8.54am GMT

Today’s OPEC meeting is a “watershed moment”, reckons Marc Ostwald, City analyst at ADM Investor Services, especially if the cartel declines to slice output.

He adds:

The signals from the various members appear to suggests that the Gulf oil producers (Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia) are set to reject demands from other members (and indeed Russia and Mexico) for an output cut, because they appear to be more concerned about “guarding market share”, which in turn will leave even more questions about the precarious budget positions of the other members.

8.45am GMT

We have worrying inflation data from the eurozone too, which could increase the pressure on the ECB to launch a sovereign bond-buying programme.

Spain’s annual consumer prices index has fallen by 0.4%, down from -0.1% in October.

Deflation accelerated in Spain in November. EU HICP minus 0.5% y-o-y. pic.twitter.com/VCXArwz2mw

#German #CPI – Saxony CPI first out: -0.1% m/m vs. expected Flat, 0.7% y/y vs. Oct 1.0%, ex-energy Flat m/m

8.25am GMT

Brent crude has experienced a dramatic slide; down from $115 per barrel in late June to just $76 today, as this chart from Reuters’ Jamie McGeever shows:

As we wait for OPEC, a reminder how much and how quickly oil has fallen. -34% since June: pic.twitter.com/HcUxJ2sZSE

8.14am GMT

JP Morgan analysts reckon the oil price will soon fall below $70 without Opec action; other analysts have suggested we could even see $60/barrel.

JPM expects OPEC not to reach an agreement on production cuts. In this event, oil prices will move down, possibly below $70/bbl for Brent.

8.13am GMT

Singapore-based Daniel Ang of Phillip Capital agrees that the “consensus” reached by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates means no output cuts today:

He told Reuters:

“Dreams of rising oil prices [have been] smashed with pre-OPEC meeting sentiments. Brace yourselves for lower oil prices.”

8.08am GMT

Several other oil ministers have also indicated that Opec will resist pressure to cut output at today’s meeting.

UAE oil minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui told the FT that the market will, eventually, fix the oversupply in the oil market.

“I don’t think we should panic. There is nothing that should cause us to panic.”

“We have to live either $80 or with $60,” says Kuwait oil minister: Oil prices fall to 4-year lows as OPEC pro… http://t.co/xjxonNHx7c

8.02am GMT

The oil price has hit a fresh four-year low this morning, as speculation grows that producers will not agree output cuts at the crucial OPEC meeting in Vienna today.

Brent crude oil slipped by over $1 per barrel, or 1.5%, to $76.58, extending the sell-off that began five months ago and has shaken the commodities market.

Crude oil is trading at another four-year low this morning, as confirmation is beginning to emerge from the OPEC meeting that there will be no output cuts announced later today.

7.55am GMT

Welcome to our rolling coverage of the financial markets, the world economy, business and the eurozone.

On the agenda today…. Members of the Opec oil cartel are meeting in Vienna today; despite recent price falls, they are thought unlikely to cut production. More on that in a moment.

German CPI, Draghi talking, holiday volumes and Opec could make European markets sporty today

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