Brent crude edged back below US$50 per barrel on Monday afternoon, after previously enjoying a short spell above the key psychological marker.
The short-lived rally came as Paris based oil watchdog the International Energy Agency (IAE) said there were signals that the oil market will turn. It did, however, also say prices may continue to go lower before any turnaround.
In London trading Brent crude was down 1.5% trading at US$49.45, while West Texas Intermediary futures were down at US$48.30.
Trading volumes are reduced on Monday due to the Martin Luther King holiday in the United States.
Monday’s crude movements were punctuated with comments from Mohammad al-Sabban, formerly an advisor to Saudi Arabia, who claim’s the major oil producing country can withstand low oil prices for as long as eight years, due to its large cash reserves.
Elsewhere, Bob Janjuah, banker and well-followed market commentator, predicted crude prices as low as US$35-30 and said that Saudi Arabia would keep production volumes high.