U.S. crude drops back below $30 as Iraq adds record output

A flame shoots out of a chimney at a petro-industrial factory in Kawasaki near Tokyo December 18, 2014. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Files

SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. crude futures dropped back below $30 a barrel in Asian trading on Tuesday, extending a near 6 percent fall made in the previous session, amid news that Iraq’s output reached a record high last month.

U.S. crude CLc1 fell 47 cents, or 1.55 percent, to $29.87 a barrel by 2309 GMT after settling $1.85, or 5.8 percent, lower at $30.34 a barrel.

Global benchmark Brent crude LCOc1 settled down $1.68 at $30.50 a barrel in the previous session, 5.2 percent below its closing price on Friday.

Iraq’s oil production hit a record in December, as output increased from the central and southern fields, an oil ministry spokesman said on Monday.

Meanwhile, Iraq may raise oil output further this year, reaching levels as high as 4 million barrels per day (bpd) from the country’s south, a senior Iraqi oil official said.

Senior OPEC and Russian oil industry officials stepped up vague talk on Monday of possible joint action to remedy one of the worst supply gluts in decades, while Saudi Arabia signaled its resolve to allow the market to balance itself.

Reporting by Meeyoung Cho; Editing by Ed Davies