Oil Falls for Fourth Day

Crude oil fell for a fourth day in New York on signs that gasoline demand in the U.S., the world's largest consumer, is declining as record prices curb usage.

Consumers purchased an average 9.305 million barrels a day of motor fuels, 3.2 percent less than a year earlier, MasterCard Inc. said in its weekly SpendingPulse report. It was the eighth consecutive week of decline. Gasoline demand was down 1.7 percent from last year, the U.S. Department of Energy reported on June 11.

Crude oil for July delivery fell as much as 85 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $133.16 a barrel in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract was at $133.37 a barrel at 9:51 a.m. in Singapore. It closed yesterday at $134.01, down 60 cents. Futures climbed to a record $139.89 a barrel on June 16. Prices are 93 percent higher than a year ago.

The average U.S. pump price for regular gasoline fell 0.2 cent to $4.078 a gallon after touching a record on June 16, AAA, the country's largest motoring club, said yesterday.

Brent crude oil for August settlement dropped as much as 72 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $133 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange at 9:50 a.m. Singapore time. The contract yesterday fell 99 cents, or 0.7 percent, to settle at $133.72 a barrel. Prices reached a record $139.32 on June 16.

Today's Energy Department report may show that U.S. fuel stockpiles rose and crude-oil inventories dropped last week, according to the median of forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey.

Gasoline supplies rose 850,000 barrels from 210.1 million barrels the prior week, the survey showed. Inventories of distillate fuel, a category that includes heating oil and diesel, climbed 1.8 million barrels.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, has called a meeting of producers, major industrial nations and banks for June 22 in the country's Red Sea port of Jeddah to discuss plans to stabilize prices.

Saudi last month said that it would raise output by 300,000 barrels a day, and may announce a second increase at the meeting in Jeddah.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
6/17/2008 7:53:10 PM