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Crude oil prices drop sharply
Jan '08
The US Federal Reserve yesterday lowered the overnight lending rate by 0.75 percent from 4.25 to 3.5 percent to help shore up the ailing economy and stave off the recession. This had a telling effect on the prices of crude oil. They fell to a six week low.

Crude oil for February delivery fell US $2.39, or 2.6 percent, to $88.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices touched $86.11 before the Fed announcement, the lowest since December 6.

The prices over the last fortnight have fallen by more than 12 percent from its earlier high of $100.09 touched on January 3, 2008. Recessionary fears have spread from the US to overseas markets in a pronounced fashion.

In London, brent crude for March delivery was up 8 cents at $87.62 per barrel, having earlier hit a day low of $85.

OPEC will be concerned that demand for its crude might fall sharply if the US economy heads into a recession and that recession might start to impact growth in oil-hungry economies in Asia.

In its monthly report released earlier, OPEC said fears of a US recession have multiplied in recent weeks, even as it kept its demand growth forecasts for 2008 unchanged at 1.3 million barrels per day.

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