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Oil prices dip amid skepticism

NEW YORK -- When OPEC speaks, energy traders listen. They just don't necessarily believe what they hear.

Oil prices fell to an 11-month low yesterday, below $57 a barrel, signaling the market's doubts about OPEC's willingness to carry out a 4 percent production cut.

The pledge to curb output by 1.2 million barrels a day came after oil prices had fallen by roughly $20 since a mid-July peak above $78 a barrel. Some cartel members warned output could be trimmed further.

But many analysts believe the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will have difficulty enforcing the production cut in its entirety because oil prices are still twice as high as they were just three years ago.

OPEC has a history of "cheating," or producing above its official quota, when prices are high, and analysts are therefore reluctant to accept the cartel's intentions at face value.

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