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Oil Price Eased On OPEC Downgrading Demand

World oil prices fell below $63 Friday as OPEC downgraded its projected global demand

World oil prices fell below 63 dollars Friday as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries downgraded its projected global demand.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, lost 81 cents to close at 62.77 dollars a barrel.

London's April contract had expired Thursday at 62.91 dollars per barrel.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, the heating oil slipped 3.12 cents to close at 1.7813 dollars a gallon as gasoline futures fell 1.43 cents to settle at 1.8601 dollars per gallon. Natural gas futures fell 21.4 cents to 7.053 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Thanks to an expected contraction in U.S. demand and downgraded growth forecasts in Asian countries, OPEC lowered its forecast Friday for global oil demand growth in 2006 by 110,000 barrels a day. OPEC set oil demand growth for this year at 1.46 million barrels a day and demand for the year at 84.5 million barrels a day.