Oil Prices to Grow on Gasoline Demand

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Oil Prices to Grow on Gasoline Demand

NEW YORK -- Crude oil prices settled above $57 a barrel in trading yesterday, as investors anticipate strong gasoline demand this summer in the U.S., Reuters reported.

Prices have seen pressure from housing market trouble in the U.S., creating a concern on global stock markets about the economic health of the nation. U.S. crude sat at $57.11 on Friday, its lowest close since the end of January.

"Barring some very bearish economic data from the U.S., oil prices should recover in the coming weeks on falling U.S. gasoline stocks amid the driving season," Gerard Burg, analyst at National Australia Bank, told Reuters.

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) ministers agreed last week to keep current supply restrictions of 1.7 million barrels per day in place, and are keeping close watch on the global economy, the report stated. If oil prices fall sharply, OPEC could hold an emergency meeting.

"If oil prices in international markets go down, certainly OPEC will make new decisions by holding an emergency meeting," Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh said on Saturday, without giving a specific price level.

Additionally, weather forecasts by DTN Meteorlogix over the weekend stated that temperatures in the northeast U.S. were expected to fall as much as six to 12 degrees below normal over the next six to 10 days, possibly cutting more losses, analysts said.