Crude prices continue to fall in Asia

Published by rudy Date posted on May 18, 2011

OIL prices fell to near $97 a barrel Tuesday in Asia, extending a two-week fall amid investor concern slowing US economic growth could undermine demand for crude.

Benchmark crude for June delivery was down 27 cents to $97.10 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $2.28 to settle at $97.37 on Monday.

In London, Brent crude for June delivery was down 26 cents to $110.58 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.

The falling oil prices abroad have reduced pump prices in the Philippines, where the last price cuts took effect on May 15 as distributors trimmed the price of gasoline by P1.75 a liter, regular gasoline by P1.25, and diesel and kerosene by P2.

Crude has fallen about 16 percent from near $115 on May 2 as traders fret high fuel costs and tepid economic growth will hurt US consumption. Crude surged 35 percent between February and the beginning of this month.

On Monday, traders shrugged off a weaker dollar, which makes crude cheaper for investors with other currencies and usually helps push oil prices higher.

Analysts are also eying the end next month of a Federal Reserve program to purchase treasury bonds, known as quantitative easing. It has helped boost money supply and asset prices while also weakening the dollar.

“The end of quantitative easing is the sea-change beneath the broader moves,” Cameron Hanover said in a report.

In other Nymex trading in June contracts, heating oil fell 0.5 cent to $2.87 a gallon and gasoline dropped 1.4 cents to $2.92 a gallon. Natural gas futures slid 3 cents to $4.29 per 1,000 cubic feet. AP, with Jeremiah F. de Guzman, Manila Standard Today

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