London - World oil prices fell on
Friday on profit-taking following recent gains which saw New York and
Brent crude hit three-month highs, analysts said.
Brent North Sea crude for delivery in
October dropped $1.27 to $114 a barrel.
New York's main contract, West Texas
Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for September, slipped 39 cents
to $95.21 a barrel.
Prices on Thursday reached the highest
levels since May on encouraging economic figures in top crude
consumer the United States, traders said.
New York hit $95.69 a barrel and Brent
$117.03 - although the Brent price was for its September contract
which expired at the close of trading on Thursday.
"Brent has fallen... and is thus
priced three dollars lower than at close of trading yesterday,"
said analysts at Commerzbank.
"The drop in price is largely the
result of the contract rollover. The October contract, which from
today represents the reference price, was trading $2.5 lower than the
September contract at the time of the rollover," they added in a
Oil prices meanwhile spiked Thursday
thanks to a brighter demand outlook for the world's biggest economy.
Weekly numbers for new unemployment
insurance claims, an indicator of the pace of layoffs, came in as
expected and in the same range of the past four months.
Elsewhere, July data on new US housing
construction, although slightly down from June, gave a picture of an
industry steadily picking up pace.
Oil prices had also rallied on
Wednesday after the US Energy Information Administration said crude
inventories plunged 3.7 million barrels in the week to August 10, far
heavier than the market had expected. Falling US inventories indicate
Prices have also won support this week
from fresh hopes of more economic stimulus measures by central banks
- and notably by the central bank in commodities-hungry China.
Crude futures were also lifted by
Middle East unrest and tight North Sea crude supplies, traders said.