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    Oil price slides below $71 in London to 13-month low

    AFP
    15.10.2008 - 15:22 | Son Güncelleme:

    The price of oil fell below $71 in London and below $75 in New York in European trade on Wednesday after a key U.S. economic indicator suggested declining demand for energy. (UPDATED)

    Brent North Sea crude for November delivery fell to $70.98 in London, while New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for November, dipped to $74.97, the lowest oil price levels since September 2007.

     

    Oil prices fell after official government data showed that U.S. retail sales slumped 1.2 percent in September, more than expected, indicating a decline in overall demand in the United States.

     

    The global financial crisis will give a vicious twist to an economic slowdown and is hitting world demand for oil, although the effect on emerging economies is unclear, OPEC said on Wednesday.

     

    The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries slashed its estimate of growth in demand this year and shaved its estimate for 2009, largely because of an "excessive" easing of demand in the United States, the single biggest energy market.

     

    Prices also fell Wednesday on news that a Nigerian court has ordered Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell to hand over land to locals, a key demand of armed rebels camped in Nigeria’s oil-producing region.

     

    New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for November, shed $1.98 to 76.65 dollars.

     

    Brent crude has fallen by more than half from a record high $147.50 in July, when prices rocketed on fears of supply disruptions.

     

    Oil prices are sliding on "concerns that the coordinated action by central banks over the last week will not be enough to rescue economies from falling into a global recession and hence weighing on oil demand," Sucden analyst Nimit Khamar said.

     

    A top U.S. central banker, Janet Yellen, said Tuesday that the United States "appears to be in a recession." There are also growing fears Japan and Europe are heading for a spell of economic stagnation or recession.

     

    The German economy is heading for a slowdown but the downturn will not be a long-lasting one, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday.

     

    Meanwhile a Nigerian court ordered Shell to hand over land around its giant Bonny oil terminal to the local population, the multi-national said Wednesday.

     

    "The ruling was given some months ago but we have appealed," Shells spokesman in Nigeria, Precious Okolobo, told AFP.

     

    He did not say whether oil lifting and export activities at the terminal, considered to be the largest in Africa, would be affected by the ruling.

     

    Markets were meanwhile awaiting the latest weekly snapshot of U.S. energy inventories due Thursday for a lead on the state of demand for oil in the worlds biggest consumer of crude.

     

    The Department of Energy’s latest data on inventories has been delayed a day owing to a public holiday in the United States on Monday.

    Oil traders were also looking ahead to an extraordinary meeting of OPEC on November 18 as member countries fret over falling prices, with some calling for cuts in output as a result.

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