LONDON - Reuters
Oil prices fell more than $1 on Friday as flagging U.S. demand and the stronger dollar extended crude's losses to 8 percent this week.
U.S. crude traded down $1.51 cents to $106.38 a barrel by 09:22 GMT after settling on Thursday at the lowest level since April 4. London Brent crude fell $1.45 to $104.85 a barrel.
Slowing demand in the United States has sent crude down from record highs over $147 a barrel in July, and overshadowed U.S. government data released Thursday showing an unexpected drop in crude stocks in the world's top consumer.
"Continuing worries about the international economic outlook, a firmer U.S. dollar, and, possibly, market speculation that OPEC may not move production levels following next week's OPEC meeting left oil prices softer," David Moore, commodity strategist from Commonwealth Bank of Australia, said in a note.
Until July, surging oil demand in emerging economies like China had supported a six-year record rally, with additional strength coming from a rush of cash from investors seeking to hedge against inflation and the weak dollar.
Gains in the greenback over the past two months have helped push oil down.
OPEC meets Sept. 9, with some expectations it may opt to cut oil prices to prevent a build-up of surplus stocks that could deepen the slump in prices, which have fallen sharply from the July record high.Iran has said the producer group may need to cut oil supplies by as much as 1.5 million barrels per day, or nearly 5 percent, to balance global markets by early next year.