Oil prices slip after OPEC's forecast

Crude prices slipped Thursday from early highs, as traders weighed &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/comp/2002/09/24/37132.html ' target=_blank>OPEC's forecast of rising global demand against concerns about production cuts and violence in the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/mailbox/22/98/386/14315_Berglin.html' target=_blank>Middle East.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery was down 18 cents at $48.15 a barrel in midday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after hitting $48.65 earlier in the day. On Wednesday, crude had risen more than $1 a barrel.

"Trees don't grow to the skies prices take a breather now and then," said Fadel Gheit, senior oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York, says ABC News.

According to the CBS News, heating oil was down 0.70 cent at $1.3350 a gallon. Brent crude was up 26 cents at $46.41 on the International Petroleum Exchange.

In its monthly report Wednesday, OPEC predicted an increase in daily demand of 83.8 million barrels, 5 percent more than the group estimated last month. Oil prices have been inching upward for more than a week on worries that OPEC, which controls 40 percent of world oil exports, might cut production at its March 16 meeting in Isfahan, Iran.