VIENNA, AUSTRIA Sunday, Nov 13, 2005,Page 10
Crude oil futures fell on Friday but held above US$57 a barrel as a forecast calling for colder weather in the US Northeast next week tempered a selloff tied to rising supplies and slack demand.
Analysts said that with crude plentiful for now, any short-term upward pressure on prices would likely come from distillates, such as heating oil and diesel, with the arrival of the Northern Hemisphere winter.
After a brief rise to US$58.20, light sweet crude for December delivery fell US$0.27 to settle at US$57.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, its lowest level since July 21.
Brent crude slipped US$0.69 to settle at US$54.99 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Oil prices are 19 percent below the Aug. 30 high of US$70.85, falling on a combination of warmer-than-usual autumn weather in the US Northeast and Midwest.
"We're still in the midst of seasonal weakness," said oil analyst Phil Flynn of Alaron Trading Corp in Chicago, referring to the months after the summer driving season and before the winter heating season. However, Flynn said he would not be surprised to see energy prices move higher next week if forecasts calling for a cold snap are correct.
"It could be the catalyst that ends this selloff," Flynn said.