Exxon Mobil reports $680m loss on low oil prices

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ExxonMobil reported another large quarterly loss Friday caused by a plunge in oil prices amid the pandemic downturn, that has prompted petroleum giants to slash spending and jobs.

The US oil producer lost $680 million in the third quarter, a dramatic reversal from the $3.2 billion profit in the same period of 2019.

It was ExxonMobil's third straight quarter of red ink, and came a day after the company announced it was cutting 1 900 US jobs amid a grim outlook due to the Covid-19 impact on demand.

The loss in the latest three months was smaller than in the prior quarter when oil prices were even lower, as business and travel shutdowns led to a collapse in consumption. Still, the company described a difficult operating environment and highlighted efforts to rein in spending.

"We remain confident in our long-term strategy and the fundamentals of our business, and are taking the necessary actions to preserve value while protecting the balance sheet and dividend," ExxonMobil Chief Executive Darren Woods said in a statement.

"We are on pace to achieve our 2020 cost-reduction targets and are progressing additional savings next year as we manage through this unprecedented down cycle."

Once the world's biggest company by market capitalisation, ExxonMobil has suffered through a difficult 2020 and was removed from the prestigious Dow Jones stock market index in August following a plunge in its value.

Beyond near-term weakness in the oil market due to economic uncertainty, petroleum companies face more questions than before about their long-term prospects given the push to address climate change.

Shares of ExxonMobil slumped 4.0% to $110.74 in pre-market trading.

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