Brent crude falls below $80 for first time since 2010

The price of Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil, dropped Wednesday below $80 for the first time since 2010.

As Financial Times points out, the price fell despite OPEC announcing that crude output had declined by about 230,000 barrels a day in October, compared with September.

But markets didn’t perceive this as a deeper change in policy and instead focused on comments made by Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali al-Naimi.

Mr. Naimi broke months of silence on Wednesday to speak publicly about the Gulf nation’s stance on the oil market.

He kept mum on whether Saudi Arabia would cut output to remove surplus oil from the market in response to dramatically lower Brent crude prices. However he dismissed claims that it had triggered a “price war”.

“Talk of a price war is a sign of misunderstanding, deliberate or otherwise, and has no basis in reality,” Mr Naimi said, according to Reuters. “We do not set the oil price. The market sets the prices.”