by Staff Writers
Singapore (AFP) Oct 29, 2012
Oil prices fell in Asia Monday as US refineries cut crude production in anticipation of a plunge in energy demand as Hurricane Sandy bore down on the eastern United States, analysts said.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December shed 38 cents to $85.90 a barrel in the afternoon and Brent North Sea crude for December delivery fell 26 cents to $109.29.
A projected fall in energy demand in the world's largest oil consumer as the megastorm approached led refineries to slash production and traders to flee the market.
"Oil has fallen and the market is reacting to Hurricane Sandy," said Victor Shum, senior principal of Purvin and Gertz energy consultants in Singapore.
"Quite a few refineries on the east coast have reduced throughput in preparation for the hurricane to hit the US east coast and that means crude oil consumption is going to come down," he told AFP.
After claiming 66 lives in the Caribbean, Hurricane Sandy forced a lockdown on the US coast as 10 states declared emergencies.
Airports, businesses, schools and even the Statue of Liberty brought down their shutters as nervous Americans stripped supermarket shelves of water, bread and batteries before the hurricane hit.
US President Barack Obama also on Sunday urged Americans to take the storm "very seriously".
Forecasters warn that Hurricane Sandy might bring "life-threatening" storm surges of six to 11 feet (1.8 to 3.3 metres) in waters around New York City and northern New Jersey.
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