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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 22:39 GMT
Oil prices fall to five-month low
Oil traders at the New York Mercantile Exchange
The trading pits erupted as crude oil prices fell more than $1 a barrel to a fresh five-month low on Thursday.

"The market remains in a downtrend with stocks of crude and heating oil currently ample," said Sucden analyst Sam Tilley.

A rise in natural gas inventories sparked the slide, sending US light crude down to $56.33 a barrel.

The rise removed fears of a shortage of home heating fuel ahead of the cold US winter.

You're going to really have to get unusually cold, and stay that way, to turn it back into a bull market for crude oil
Ed Silliere
Energy Merchant LLC

"We're well-supplied on all fronts right now," said Fimat brokerage analyst John Kilduff.

In London, Brent crude for delivery in January fell $1.15 to $54.85 a barrel after the news from the US Department of Energy.

Natural gas inventories rose by 53 billion cubic feet to 3.28 trillion cubic feet for the week ending 11 November, the department's Energy Information Administration said.

Demand for heating oil, jet fuel and diesel is rising more slowly this year than last year, according to fresh data.

Some analysts said it was unlikely that oil prices would bounce back in the near future.

"You're going to really have to get unusually cold, and stay that way, to turn it back into a bull market for crude oil," said Ed Silliere, vice president of risk management at Energy Merchant LLC.



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