Oil prices drop on weak demand climate
LONDON - Oil prices dropped on Thursday amid a weak demand climate despite OPEC raising its forecast for the amount of crude it expects to be consumed this year, analysts said.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in April slid 20 cents to $117.68 a barrel in London midday deals.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March dipped 10 cents to $96.91 a barrel.
"Brent has been unable to achieve the nine-month high of a good $119 per barrel it recorded last week," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.
"The price has been stopped in its tracks by the International Energy Agency's unexpected downward revision of its demand forecast."
The IEA, representing oil consumers, trimmed its world oil demand forecast for 2013 on Wednesday.
It said the marginal cut of 85,000 barrels a day was in line with the prospect for a slowdown forecast by the International Monetary Fund, which last month cut its world growth estimate for 2013 to 3.5 percent from 3.6 percent.
On Tuesday, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raised its estimates for global oil demand this year, citing signs of a recovery in the global economy.
OPEC, which accounts for more than a third of global oil supplies, expects 89.68 million barrels of oil to be sold a day, up from 89.55 million estimated a month ago.