Oil bubble wobbles; new excuse given

NEW YORK, June 19, 2008 (AFP) – Oil prices slumped Thursday after Saudi Arabia said it planned to boost daily output by 200,000 barrels to help cool record-breaking energy costs which are hurting consumers globally.

The world’s biggest exporter of crude oil said it would ramp up daily crude production to 9.65 million barrels per day.

The oil-rich kingdom made the announcement in a statement posted on its London embassy website but this was later withdrawn without any comment or elaboration.

Saudi Arabia had not been expected to announce its plans for a production hike until a high-level meeting between producers and consumers Sunday in Jeddah to discuss ways of curtailing soaring oil prices on world markets.

The benchmark oil futures contract, New York’s light sweet crude for July delivery, slid 4.75 dollars to close at 131.93 dollars a barrel.

In London, London’s Brent North Sea crude for August shed 4.44 dollars to settle at 132 dollars.

“Saudi Arabia recently announced a plan to increase oil output by 200,000 barrels per day (bpd),” read the statement posted Thursday on Saudi Arabia’s London embassy website.

“Oil prices subsequently fell further yesterday (Wednesday) from recor