LONDON – The price of oil edged down toward US$92 a barrel on Wednesday amid gloomy forecasts for world economic growth.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude was down 28 cents at US$92.11 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $3.06 on Tuesday to finish at US$92.39 per barrel on concerns about supplies from the Middle East and the North Sea.
In London, Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 25 cents to US$114.25.
The International Monetary Fund said Tuesday that the world’s advanced economies are at risk of recession, a development that would likely depress the consumption of energy. The IMF cut its forecast for global growth this year to 3.3 per cent from a forecast of 3.5 per cent issued in July.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries left unchanged its estimate for growth in global oil demand in 2013. However, it said Wednesday that uncertainty over economic growth could cause it to lower those estimates in the future.
Traders have also been watching developments in Syria for any signs of a disruption in supplies from the Middle East. Cross-border artillery exchanges with Turkey have heightened fears that the violence between government and opposition forces in Syria could escalate into a wider regional conflict.
Oil analyst Stephen Schork said traders on Wednesday will be watching for the release of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s so-called Beige Book report on business conditions in the United States. The report is released eight times a year and is based on information that the Fed’s 12 regional banks gather from business contacts around the country.
In other futures traded in New York: natural gas rose one cent to US$3.477 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil fell 0.6 of a cent to US$3.201 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres) and wholesale gasoline rose 0.9 of a cent to US$2.968 a gallon.
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