The price of oil fell further towards 30 dollars a barrel on Friday amid a lull in Middle East violence which persuaded investors that the threat to oil supplies from the region had diminished.
The Brent benchmark North Sea crude fell to 30.52 dollars a barrel from 30.78 dollars at the close on Thursday. In New York, a barrel of light sweet reference crude closed at 32.54 dollars on Thursday, down 71 cents.
"The situation seems to be improving in the Middle East and there is a lack of news," said Royal Bank of Scotland analyst Peter Young.
A month of violence between Israel and Palestinians sent oil prices spiraling to 10-year highs above 35 dollars a barrel in London last month, amid fears that Arab nations could use their important oil exports as a political tool to support the Palestinians.
But Arab oil exporters in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries have actually pledged twice this autumn to increase output because of high prices.
OPEC Secretary General Rilwanu Lukman said Friday that the organization was simply seeking a fair price for crude oil, but faced a minefield of factors influencing markets, notably speculation.
"The objectives of member countries have simply been to secure a fair price for the oil they produce," Lukman said.
"Unfortunately, due to the many facets of the ever-changing oil industry, and the intricacies of modern-day oil futures trading, producers have had to weave their way through the potential minefields," he was quoted as saying by the OPECNA news agency.--AFP.
(C)--Agence France Presse.