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BLBG: Oil Falls Below $90 for 1st Time in 8 Months on Demand Concern
By Grant Smith

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil fell below $90 a barrel in New York for the first time since February as the credit crisis deepened in Europe, adding to concerns that global economic growth will slow and reduce demand for fuels.

Oil dropped as much as 5.3 percent as European leaders pledged to bail out troubled banks and protect depositors. World markets are oversupplied, Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari said on Oct. 4, and Saudi Aramco, the world's largest state oil company, cut its official selling prices for exports to Asia and the U.S.

``With the stream of economic distress signals continuing unabated the oil market is betting that demand will really suffer,'' said Christopher Bellew, a senior broker at Bache Commodities Ltd. ``A further push towards $85 is looking highly likely in these feverish conditions.''

Crude oil for November delivery fell as much as $4.99 to $88.89 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's the lowest since Feb. 8. It was at $89.63 at 12:43 p.m. in London.

Futures have fallen 39 percent from the record $147.27 reached on July 11.

New York oil prices declined 12 percent last week as reports showed U.S. fuel demand the previous four weeks was the lowest in almost seven years and manufacturing shrank in September at the fastest pace since the last recession in 2001. The country's Labor Department reported a bigger-than-expected 159,000 drop in payrolls in September last week.


``It is doubtful that the vicious downward decline we are seeing in most markets will end any time soon, even if credit markets start to thaw out,'' said Edward Meir, an analyst at MF Global Ltd. in Connecticut. ``In crude's case, we are still staggered by the fact that prices are well above where they were at this time last year, and so would not be surprised to see much sharper falls.''

The U.S. may fall into a recession, the International Monetary Fund said on Oct. 2 in its most pessimistic outlook for the world's largest economy since the credit crisis began last year.

Saudi Aramco trimmed the price of its Arab Extra Light crude by 30 cents to a discount of $3.40 a barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, the Dhahran, Saudi Arabia-based producer said yesterday in a faxed statement. The company also cut the price of its Arab Light grade.

The dollar rose to a 13-month high against a basket of currencies, reducing the investment appeal of dollar-denominated commodities. The euro fell as low as $1.3718 from $1.3772 in late New York trading last week, after Germany said it will guarantee personal bank deposits in a bid to stabilize the nation's banking system.

Brent crude oil for November settlement declined as much as $4.75, or 5.3 percent, to $85.50 a barrel on London's ICE Futures Europe exchange, and traded at $86.22 at 12:28 p.m. London time.