US crude futures fall 2 per cent to below US92 a barrel

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Signs that the global economy isn’t strong enough to quickly burn through the world’s ample supplies of oil and gasoline sank crude oil prices for a second straight day.Weak U.S. economic reports Friday followed on the heels of reduced forecasts for oil demand. Oil dropped two per cent.U.S. crude futures fell $2.22, or 2.4 per cent, to $91.29 barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price oil used by many U.S. refiners to make gasoline, fell $1.34 to $103.04, the lowest level since mid-July, in London.Supplies of both oil and gasoline are plentiful, and demand appears to be weak.“It’s the usual culprits,” said Judith Dwarkin, Chief Economist at ITG Investment Research. “Supply growth is outpacing demand growth.”The falling crude prices will help extend a long, slow slide in retail gasoline prices, forecasters say. The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. fell a penny overnight to $3.56 per gallon (3.8 litres). That’s 23 cents lower than the high for the year, set on Feb. 27. And gas is now 36 cents a gallon cheaper than a year ago at this time.In each of the last two years the global oil market faced falling supplies because of production disruptions in the North Sea, East Africa, and Iran, which was facing tighter sanctions. This year, production has proceeded mostly as expected. U.S. output is booming, but Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations have cut back somewhat in response.In the U.S., refining capacity is at an all-time high and refiners have gotten a head start on making gasoline for the summer driving season. With supplies above normal for this time of year, refineries might pull back on oil purchases in the coming months. That will slow the drawing down of oil supplies, and keep prices lower.At the same time, the global economy still shows signs of weakness, suggesting that oil consumption will grow less than expected. When economic growth slows, drivers, shippers and travellers use less gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday that sales at U.S. retailers fell 0.4 per cent last month, indicating that higher taxes and weak hiring likely made some consumers more cautious about spending. The Commerce Department also reported that companies restocked their shelves at a much slower pace in February than in the month before, a sign that companies expect consumers and businesses to pull back on spending.OPEC, the U.S. Energy Department and the International Energy Agency, which represents a group of oil-consuming nations, all lowered their outlook for global oil demand this week. The IEA on Thursday dropped its forecast for demand this year by 45,000 barrels to 90.6 million barrels a day.In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:— Gasoline fell three cents to $2.80 per gallon.— Natural gas rose eight cents to $4.22 per 1,000 cubic feet.— Heating oil fell three cents to $2.87 per gallon.__Follow Jonathan Fahey on Twitter at .___(TSX:ECA, TSX:IMO, TSX:SU, TSX:HSE, NYSE:BP, NYSE:COP, NYSE:XOM, NYSE:CVX, TSX:CNQ, TSX:TLM, TSX:COS.UN, TSX:CVE) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Jonathan Fahey, The Associated Press Posted Apr 12, 2013 5:24 pm MDT US crude futures fall 2 per cent to below US$92 a barrel on weak economic data read more

South Sudan UN agencies reach more than half a million people with

Using a combination of airdrops and airlifts, the joint emergency mission carried out by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) delivered food assistance and nutrition supplements, well as health support, learning materials and water, sanitation and hygiene supplies. Both agencies also provided nutrition screening and treatment, as well as information and messages on nutrition, according to a news release issued today. They also assist with reunification for children who are separated from their families, or unaccompanied.“These missions reach people who have been fleeing for their lives,” said Jonathan Veitch, UNICEF Representative in South Sudan. “They have lost or left everything behind, and their relief that someone has finally come to help, and not harm, is palpable.”With support from logistics and telecommunications specialists, the teams provide a lifeline to desperate communities in the three conflict-affected states – Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity.The teams stay in each location from 8 to 11 days, carrying all their own supplies, including food, water and tents. Based on their assessment of the needs of the local population, which can be up to nearly 50,000 people per mission, the teams radio for supplies to be delivered by air.Missions can be delayed by bad weather, which disrupts flights and causes dirt airstrips to flood, and insecurity is a constant challenge, the agencies noted. But once a team has reached an area to establish a humanitarian response, non-governmental partners are frequently able to remain and provide ongoing assistance.“Our staff deployed across South Sudan, in gruelling and often dangerous conditions, show great determination to serve the people of South Sudan with life-saving food and nutrition assistance,” said Joyce Luma, WFP Country Director in South Sudan.Of the more than 1.8 million South Sudanese who fled their homes because of the conflict that began in mid-December 2013, over 1.4 million remain displaced within the country. Most are sheltering in remote and hard-to-reach areas, and more than half of them are children.There are also some 97,000 civilians continuing to receive shelter at UN sites around the country.The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said that more than 9,000 displaced civilians have moved voluntarily from its Tomping Compound in the capital, Juba, to a protection-of-civilians site adjacent to the UN House since it opened in June. The number of uprooted still living in the Tomping site now falls under 4,000. Yesterday, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNMISS, Ellen Margrethe Løj, visited Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, where she met with government officials, including the caretaker governor and community leaders representing some 2,700 displaced people living in UNMISS protection sites outside Bor Town. This was her third visit to a state capital outside Juba since she took on her position earlier this month. read more