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Oil in narrow trading range in Asia

business Updated: Jan 19, 2009 23:28 IST

Oil traded in a narrow price range on Monday in Asia, with the market affected by weak global demand and worries over OPEC production cuts, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery, fell 31 cents to $ 36.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent North Sea crude for March delivery was down 47 cents to 46.10.

Underlying weak global demand for crude "remains a dominant factor" affecting the market, said David Moore, a commodity strategist for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.

He said New York's February contract was trading in a "very narrow range" ahead of its expiry later this week, and March contract prices of above $ 42 were more indicative of the market's current situation.

Last week both the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel and the International Energy Agency, energy policy adviser to major industrialised countries, lowered their demand forecasts for this year.

OPEC will consider further cuts to oil production if prices continue to fall, Algerian Energy Minister Chakib Khelil said Saturday.

Another cartel member, Venezuela, said at the weekend that it is prepared to reduce its oil production in a bid to boost prices.