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Oil Prices Fall Next Year: OPEC

OPEC expects world oil prices to stabilize in a range of $45-$55 per barrel next year

OPEC expects world oil prices to stabilize in a range of $45-$55 per barrel next year and has ample spare capacity to meet demand, acting Secretary-General Adnan Shihab-Eldin said on Monday.

?I see the prices next year in the range of $45-$55,? Shihab-Eldin told Reuters Television in an interview. ?There is room for them to stabilize in this range, certainly above $40,? he said, without specifying which price he was referring to.

Global benchmark oil prices are well down from record highs touched two months ago, with US light crude futures trading around $60.60, compared with the high of $70.85. December Brent futures are trading near $58.70 a barrel.

?We saw no reason for prices to go that high. We saw some signs among developing countries that it was beginning to cause them problems and that?s not what we want,? he said during a visit to Moscow. OPEC?s reference price for a basket of 11 crudes stood at $53.73 a barrel on Friday.

?Based on fundamentals, prices should not increase. They should moderate below the levels of recent months,? he said. Past oil price spikes have damaged industrial economies as rising fuel costs overtake economic growth. This time developed econ-omies have shown resilience, Shihab-Eldin said. There had been some concern of US oil demand slackening, he said, until data out last week showed the US economy grew strongly in the third quarter of 2005. reuters