Oil prices fall to US$102, a five-month low, before OPEC meet

LONDON, September 9, 2008 (AFP) – Oil prices slumped to 102 dollars a barrel on Tuesday, the lowest level since the start of April, as the market waited to see whether OPEC would announce a change to its crude output levels.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October hit exactly 102 dollars a barrel in electronic dealing on Tuesday. It later rose slightly to stand at 102.26 dollars, a loss of 1.29 dollars from Monday’s close.

New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, shed 1.24 dollars to 105.10 dollars a barrel.

Saudi Arabia expressed satisfaction with recent steep falls in oil prices on Tuesday and appeared in no mood to approve a cut in output by the OPEC group despite fears among some members of oversupply.

“We have worked very hard since June’s meeting to bring prices to where they are now. I think everything is in balance,” said Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi ahead of an OPEC meeting due to start late on Tuesday in Vienna.

The Saudi kingdom, the world’s biggest crude producer and de facto leader of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), has come under fierce pressure from the United States and other allies over record crude prices.