EW YORK, October 22, 2008 (AFP) – Crude oil prices careened lower Wednesday after surging US energy reserves highlighted falling demand in a cooling global economy, and ahead of an OPEC financial crisis meeting. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for December, skidded 5.43 dollars to close at 66.75 dollars a barrel. It earlier fell as low as 66.20 dollars, the lowest level since June 14, 2007.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for December delivery tumbled 5.20 dollars to settle at 64.52 dollars per barrel, a level last seen on May 7, 2007.
Oil prices extended Tuesday’s losses as the market focused on weakening global demand instead of the OPEC meeting in Vienna on Friday that has raised expectations the cartel will cut production to shore up sagging prices.
The US Department of Energy’s weekly report on US energy inventories deepened the gloom with stronger than expected increases .
The DoE said crude oil reserves jumped 3.2 million barrels, to 311.4 million barrels, in the week ended October 17.
Analysts’ consensus forecast was for a rise in crude of 2.4 million barrels.
Gasoline inventories rose by 2.7 million barrels last week, slightly uder expectations of a 2.8 millio