NEW YORK, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Oil markets were treading water early in the Monday session as traders tested the waters of a new Saudi Arabia and a future Europe.
Government administrators in Riyadh were still receiving foreign dignitaries visiting the country to pay respects for Saudi King Abdullah, who died last week as a result of complications from pneumonia.
Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of consultant group IHS, said the late king was "the world's most influential oil decision-maker well into the 21st century."
There were few signs his successor, Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, would change policies in the oil kingdom. Riyahd's decision to keep oil production steady to defend its global market position is in part behind the slump in crude oil prices.
The price for Brent, the global benchmark, was down less than $1 per barrel to trade near the $48 mark for March delivery. The price for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, was off half a percent from the previous session to fetch $45.59 early in Monday trading.
Global oil markets are tilted toward the supply side in a weakened global economy. Historic production from the United States adds additional downward pressure to crude oil prices.
The American Petroleum Institute said in a monthly report last week that U.S. production of 9.12 million barrels per day was a 16 percent increase for the month, the swiftest pace in almost 30 years.
Last week, the European Central Bank enacted a bond-buying program in an effort to prop up the struggling eurozone. European markets were mixed Monday following the news.