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Oil futures retreating from recent highs

Experts say factors are lining up that could cut the pressure that's pushing up prices.

Associated Press
Published September 15, 2007


NEW YORK - Oil futures fell for the first time in 10 sessions Friday after a rally that has driven prices to new highs that some analysts say are unrealistic.

"It used to be a painting by a realist, now it's abstract," said Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, of recent trading of Nymex oil futures.

Futures were buffeted all day as some traders sold to lock in profits and others bought on worries about a tropical storm.

Gasoline futures also fell as power was restored to some of the refineries shut down after Hurricane Humberto hit Port Arthur, Texas, on Thursday.

Oil's rapid rise from $69 a barrel less than a month ago has been propelled by falling domestic oil inventories, concerns about growing demand and speculative buying by large investment funds. But several analysts are now sounding alarms, arguing that there are no fundamental reasons supporting oil's rally.

In recent days, OPEC has said it will boost output and the International Energy Agency has cut its global demand forecasts. Oil inventories are falling in the United States, but remain at record levels. And gasoline demand has ebbed with the end of the summer driving season.