December 26, 2018 / 1:49 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Russia's Sechin blames U.S. Fed for low oil prices

(Adds detail, quote)

MOSCOW, Dec 26 (Reuters) - The head of Russian oil giant Rosneft said on Wednesday the slump in global oil prices was mostly linked to a fresh interest rate hike announced by the U.S. Federal Reserve last week.

Igor Sechin, a long-standing ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, also said he saw oil prices at $50-53 per barrel next year “under a conservative scenario”.

Oil prices have fallen by more than a third this quarter, hovering just above $50 per barrel on worries over the world economy despite a global agreement, clinched earlier this month, to cut oil production.

The Fed last week raised rates by a quarter percentage point for the fourth time this year to a range of 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent.

“This factor is the main one, which has an impact on the price (of oil),” Sechin told reporters in the Kremlin ahead of a meeting between Putin and leading Russian businessmen.

Sechin, Russia’s most influential energy official, said the fact that the United States, which is poised to become world’s top oil producer, was not a party to the global deal also put pressure on oil prices. (Reporting by Olesya Astakhova and Vladimir Soldatkin Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber Editing by Robin Pomeroy and Gareth Jones)

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