Investing.com - Crude oil prices eased in Asia on Friday after OPEC cut a demand forecast for its crude and Libyan officials reportedly said they expect their biggest oil field to recover from a rebel attack and restart production soon.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for delivery in December traded at $77.83 a barrel, down 0.19%, after hitting an overnight session low of $77.13 a barrel and off a high of $79.02 a barrel.
The global Brent contract eased 0.1% to $82.86 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Libyan oil officials were quoted anonymously in reports saying they intend to restart the 300,000 barrel-a-day Sharara field soon, one day after gunmen stormed the facility and stole cars and equipment. Libya had been producing about 800,000 barrels a day nationwide, adding to a surplus on global oil markets of 1 million barrels.
Also Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries reduced the demand forecast for its oil in its annual world outlook, predicting consumption would fall to 28.2 million barrels by 2017, down 6.9% from 2013.
Analysts and brokers said the market appeared to be taking the OPEC rhetoric in stride and would wait until the cartel's Nov. 27 meeting in Vienna to see if members took concrete action to cut output and shore up prices.
Overnight, crude futures dropped on Thursday after the dollar shot up in wake of dovish comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who hinted that further stimulus can't be ruled out.
A stronger greenback makes oil and less attractive commodity on dollar-denominated exchanges, especially in the eyes of investors holding other currencies.
Draghi said earlier that the ECB would soon begin purchasing asset-backed securities to prop up the economy. The program will run for two years and have a "sizeable impact" on the ECB's balance sheet, Draghi said.
The ECB left rates on hold at record lows at its policy meeting earlier Thursday, as widely expected.
Meanwhile across the Atlantic, the dollar found additional support after the number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week fell more than expected, fueling optimism over the strength of the labor market, official data showed on Thursday.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported earlier that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending Nov. 1 decreased by 10,000 to 278,000 from the previous week's revised total of 288,000.
Analysts had expected jobless claims to fall by 3,000 to 285,000 last week.
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