Oil prices drop after downbeat week

NEW YORK, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices declined on Monday, extending the losses they had suffered in the prior week.

The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery dropped 1.78 U.S. dollars, or 2.23 percent, to settle at 77.9 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude for March delivery lost 1.76 dollars, or 2.03 percent, to close at 84.9 dollars a barrel on the London ICE Futures Exchange.

The move came as key ministers from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, collectively known as OPEC+, are scheduled to hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

Traders also awaited rate decisions from major central banks as the U.S. Federal Reserve will kick off its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday and the European Central Bank will meet on Thursday.

For the trading week ending Jan. 27, the WTI dipped 2.4 percent, while Brent decreased 1.1 percent, based on the front-month contracts.

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