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Crude Oil May Fall as Economy Slows, Survey Shows

Crude oil may fall next week on signals that the U.S. economic recovery is slowing, bolstering stockpiles, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Seventeen of 44 analysts, or 39 percent, forecast crude oil will decline through Aug. 27. Fourteen respondents, or 32 percent, predicted that futures will increase, and 13 projected there would be little change. Last week, 56 percent of analysts forecast a drop.

Oil dropped yesterday after the Labor Department said initial jobless claims rose to the highest level since November. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s general economic index dropped to the lowest reading since July 2009.

“Crude oil prices will remain under pressure due to continued poor weekly jobs data and related concerns over the state of the U.S. economic recovery,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC, a New York-based hedge fund that focuses on energy. “Total petroleum inventory levels will also serve to limit gains and enhance losses.”

A U.S. Energy Department report on Aug. 18 showed that total petroleum stockpiles climbed 5.34 million barrels to 1.13 billion in the week ended Aug. 13, the highest level since at least 1990. The department began to compile weekly inventories in 1990, said Jonathan Cogan, an Energy Information Administration spokesman in Washington.

Crude oil for September delivery declined $1.93, or 2.6 percent, to $73.46 a barrel this week on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices are up 1.3 percent from a year ago.

The oil survey has correctly predicted the direction of futures 48 percent of the time since its start in April 2004.

     Bloomberg’s survey of oil analysts and traders, conducted
each Thursday, asks for an assessment of whether crude oil
futures are likely to rise, fall or remain neutral in the coming
week. The results were:

                  RISE      NEUTRAL    FALL
                   14         13        17

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