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Crude oil prices drop on increase in US oil supply
2005-01-27 00:47:02 XinhuaEnglish

í@NEW YORK, Jan. 26(Xinhuanet)-- Crude oil prices fell Wednesday as the oil inventories in the United States continued to grow.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, oil futures for March delivery declined 86 cents to end at 48.78 dollars a barrel after surpassing 49 dollars per barrel over the previous session. Meanwhile, in London the March Brent crude-oil futures
contract fell 45 cents to settle at 46.51 dollars a barrel at the International Petroleum Exchange.

The US Energy Department said that supplies of crude oil grew last week by 3.4 million barrels to 295.6 million barrels, or 9 percent above year ago levels. But stockpiles of distillate fuels,a category that included heating oil, dropped by 2.3 million barrels to 121.5 million barrels, or 4 percent below year ago levels.

The situation in Nigeria also pressured on oil prices. The Nigerian oil workers decided to called off an imminent strike. Nigeria was a key producer of light sweet crude in the world energy markets.

Oil ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC) were scheduled to meet on Jan. 30 to discuss whether additional production cuts might be necessary.

However, many analysts were not certain about OPEC's next stepsafter the meeting.

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