Oil prices fall on lower energy demand
Crude prices fell on Tuesday after the U.S. Energy Department cut its forecast for the global energy demand this year, Xinhua reported.
Light, sweet crude for April delivery fell 1.36 U.S. dollars to settle at 45.71 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
In London, Brent crude for April delivery rose 76 cents to settle at 44.89 dollars a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.
Oil prices had been rising in the past two sessions as investors speculated that OPEC would further cut production when the oil cartel meets in Vienna this Sunday.
Crude futures initially got support from the U.S. stocks in the early trading on Tuesday, as a rally in the banking sector sent all the major indexes up.
But oil prices retreated after the U.S. Energy Department Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its short-term outlook. EIA cut its forecast of global demand for oil in 2009 by 200,000 barrels a day from the previous forecast last month. Its projection for global oil consumption this year is now 3 million barrels a day below its forecast from September.
EIA also predicted that average oil prices for this year will likely be lower than current levels, with forecasts of 42 U.S. dollars a barrel for 2009 and 53 dollars a barrel for 2010.