Oil prices fell further during the fourth week of November, following a brief spike in response to a sudden wintry snap in the US northeast. Fears of heating oil shortages were eased as inventories of both crude and products rose. Spot Brent was trading at $52.68 a barrel on 23 November, compared with $53.26 a barrel a week earlier.
The break in the unseasonally mild weather in northeast America coincided with the annual Thanksgiving holiday weekend and accelerated driving activity. However, data released on 23 November showed crude and gasoline stocks each rising by 0.1 per cent to 321.8 million barrels and 200.4 million barrels respectively in the week to 18 November, and distillate stocks up by 0.9 per cent to 124.5 million barrels. Saudi Petroleum & Mineral Resources Minister Ali Naimi on 19 November called for improved data and dialogue between producers and consumers to calm oil price fluctuations. 'The absence of clear and accurate information is one of the biggest problems facing the market,' Naimi said. 'We don't want to build an expansion of production while we don't have enough demand, or know how much demand we will have.'