Karachi: As Oil struggled at seven-year lows Tuesday, sending Asian energy firms plunging in line with their US and European counterparts after OPEC´s decision to maintain output dimmed hopes for a recovery in the black gold.Another tumble in Chinese imports and exports exacerbated the panic on regional markets, reinforcing worries about the state of the world economy at the same time as Washington considers hiking US interest rates.A global supply glut, weak demand and the growth slowdown in China have combined with soaring production over the past year to send crude slumping more than 60 percent over the past 18 months.Investors had been hoping that with the market becoming increasingly tight, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could find a way to ease output and release some pressure on prices.However, the cartel´s six-monthly meeting Friday ended without any agreement between bickering members to make any cuts, which in turn battered global markets.
On Monday, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude sank 5.8 percent and Brent shed 5.3 percent hitting levels not seen since February 2009. WTI tumbled 2.7 percent and Brent lost 1.9 percent Friday.
US giant ExxonMobil, France´s Total and Italy´s Eni all fell between two and three percent, with many smaller producers and oil-services companies suffering even bigger drops.
And Asian firms continued those losses as crude failed to recover. Hong Kong-listed Chinese giant CNOOC was down more than three percent, while PetroChina was off 1.4 percent in Shanghai.