Oil prices below 90 dollars in Asian morning trade

SINGAPORE, Jan 18, 2008 (AFP) – World oil prices fell below 90 dollars in Asian trading on Friday amid deepening concerns that weakness in the US economy — the world’s biggest energy consumer — could sharply dent demand, analysts said. In morning trade, New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in February, slid 51 cents to 89.62 dollars a barrel.

The contract closed 71 cents lower at 90.13 dollars a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday.

Brent North Sea crude for March delivery fell 20 cents to 88.55 dollars per barrel, after settling 75 cents lower at 88.75 dollars per barrel on Thursday in London.

“The drop in demand is certain in the short term with the economic slowdown in the United States affecting sentiments worldwide.

Everyone stops spending, and that will drive prices further down,” said Tony Nunan, of Mitsubishi Corp’s international petroleum business in Tokyo.

He said trading is volatile and in a “worst-case scenario” prices could fall as low as 69 dollars a barrel.

“I can see prices dropping to the lower 80s or even the higher 70s as we move towards the end of the first quarter,” he said.

Oil prices retreated as US stocks fell sharply Thursday, w