Crude oil prices declined today on falling stock markets in Europe and Asia, and a report about new home sales in the U.S.
Concerns about an economic slowdown in the largest consumer of oil returned after equity markets in China, Japan, Hong Kong, India and Europe were down on Monday.
Moreover, the Commerce Department said today that December sales of new built homes across the United States dropped 4.7 percent to 604,000. Homes sales were expected to fall by 647,000, according to a median of 62 forecasts from economists polled by Bloomberg.
Crude oil for March delivery slid 46 cents or 0.51 percent to $91.17 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange today at 2:37 p.m. Brent Crude fell 62 cents or 0.69 percent to $91.80 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.
Investors worldwide are concerned that an economic recession in the U.S. may affect other countries and decrease oil consumption. Some specialists see the total annual decline of over 40 percent in new house sales, compared with December 2006, as an important signal of the slowdown in the world's largest economy.
Meanwhile, Energy investors are placing their attention on two critical events this week. The first one is the Federal Reserve's two day meeting scheduled to start tomorrow where it is expected that the policy making body will make another aggressive interest rate cut. Oil prices weakened when the Fed announced a 0.75 percent interest rate cut last Tuesday.
The other major event is a meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Friday. Recently, President Bush called on OPEC to raise oil output in order to prevent an economic slowdown in the U.S. However ministers from OPEC declared there is no need to increase crude supplies.