Oil Little Changed

Crude oil traded little changed as European equity indexes advanced after central banks from the U.S. to China cut interest rates yesterday to stave off the spreading economic crisis.

OPEC, supplier of 40 percent of the world's crude, is weighing an emergency meeting next month to halt oil's 39 percent collapse from its July record. Oil futures were supported as the U.S. currency weakened for a third day against the euro, bolstering the appeal of dollar-priced commodities used to hedge against inflation.

Crude oil for November delivery traded for $88.73 a barrel, 22 cents lower on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 2:03 p.m. in London, recovering from an earlier drop of 87 cents. Oil touched an all-time high of $147.27 a barrel in July.

The MSCI World Index added 0.7 percent to 1,010.68 at 12:40 p.m. in London. The index lost 15 percent in the previous five days, the biggest drop since October 1987. Yesterday, the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and four other central banks cut rates simultaneously.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may meet Nov. 18 in Vienna to discuss the effect of the financial crisis on oil markets, according to Libya's top oil official, National Oil Corp. Chairman Shokri Ghanem. The next scheduled meeting of ministers is Dec. 17 in Algeria.

Qatari Oil Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said today he also supports an unscheduled meeting. Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said OPEC may hold an emergency meeting in November to review crude oil production, state news agency IRNA reported.

Libya is halting 50,000 barrels a day of supplies to its Swiss unit Tamoil SA after Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi's son was arrested in Geneva in July.

Brent crude oil for November settlement was at $84.30 a barrel, down 6 cents on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange at 1:19 p.m. local time.

Yesterday, oil touched $86.05 a barrel, the lowest since December, after U.S. crude and gasoline inventories increased more than forecast while fuel consumption plunged.

U.S. fuel demand averaged about 18.7 million barrels a day during the past four weeks, the lowest since June 1999, according to the Energy Department. The figure is down 8.6 percent from the year-earlier period, the department said.

Supplies of gasoline rose 7.18 million barrels, or 4 percent, to 186.8 million barrels as refinery capacity climbed 8.7 percentage points to 80.9 percent. It was the biggest increase in refinery utilization in records that go back to 1989. Gasoline inventories had the biggest gain in seven years.

Gold fell for the first time this week in London as investors sought to raise cash on speculation that a coordinated cut in lending rates by central banks will fail to restrain interbank borrowing costs. Gold for immediate delivery slid $18.40, or 2 percent, to $889.22 an ounce as of 12:11 p.m. in London. The metal advanced 8.6 percent in the previous three trading sessions.

TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg.com
10/9/2008 7:01:50 AM