World oil prices extend losses on demand worries

SINGAPORE, Nov 6, 2008 (AFP) - World oil prices extended losses in Asian trade Thursday on concerns that demand is weakening in the United States, the world's biggest energy user, dealers said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for December delivery was off 27 cents to 65.03 dollars from its close of 65.30 dollars in the United States Wednesday. The contract fell 5.23 dollars Wednesday.

Brent North Sea crude for December delivery eased 26 cents to 61.61 dollars a barrel from 61.87 dollars where it dropped 4.57 dollars Wednesday.

Latest data released Wednesday by the US Department of Energy (DoE) showed US gasoline stockpiles jumped 1.1 million barrels in the week ended October 31, confounding market expectations for a drop of 600,000 barrels.

The DoE said crude reserves held steady instead of rising the 1.2 million barrels forecast by analysts.

US energy demand continued to decline. Americans consumed 6.7 percent less crude in the past four weeks compared with the same period a year ago, the government data showed.

"It's very difficult to sustain price rallies, especially since the demand deterioration theory is still intact," Jim Ritterbusch, president of the oil trading advisory firm Ritterbusch and Associates, was quoted as saying by Dow Jones Newswires.

Crude prices have more than halved since hitting record levels of above 147 dollars in July on concerns about the faltering global economy.

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps about 40 percent of the world's oil, have started to cut output in November as part of the cartel's plans to shore up prices.

The cartel announced in an emergency meeting last month it would cut output by 1.5 million barrels a day to 27.3 million bpd from November.

Source: AFP

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