Oil prices declined for the fifth straight day Thursday as worries about growing dissension within OPEC before the cartel's year-end meeting and a possible recession spread throughout world markets.
"There is somewhat of a gradual dawning on people that OPEC probably is not going to raise prices at its December meeting and may have trouble reaching agreement on some issues, including production," said Peter Beutel, energy analyst at Elders Futures Inc. in New York. "Many are expecting a tempestuous get-together."
Beutel said the oil market "is finally getting a whiff of disinflationary pressure that had spread to commodities earlier."
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas intermediate--the benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery--lost 9 cents to $18.98 after being down as much as 32 cents earlier in the session.
Home-heating oil for immediate delivery inched up 0.06 cent to 55.29 cents a gallon and unleaded gasoline added 0.08 cent to 50.97 cents.