Brent futures, the internationally traded benchmark, today closed in below $80 a barrel, a symbolic but important barrier. Brent has now established a trend of plunging through a new barrier approximately every month – the price broke through $100 a barrel on 8 September, and $90 on 9 October. At the closing today, Brent futures for December delivery were at $79.74. (Bloomberg, 12 November)
Among the Persian Gulf producers, Iran and Iraq are particularly vulnerable to these low prices, as are Russia and Venezuela. Oil revenues comprise considerable percentage of their government revenues and their current budgets are based on $100 oil.