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Oil prices fall despite OPEC talk

WASHINGTON -- Oil prices dropped by nearly $1 a barrel yesterday as traders focused on a halt in the dollar's decline, weak manufacturing data, and expectations of mild weather next week, which sent natural gas and heating oil futures sharply lower, too.

"We're into that part of the year where it really is a weather market," said Aaron Kildow, a broker at Prudential Financial in New York. The market may have ignored OPEC yesterday , but that may not last, Kildow said.

Recent comments from key members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries suggest the cartel will push for further cuts in output when it meets Dec. 14 in Nigeria, and Kildow said he could see oil prices rising as high as $70 this winter.

Light sweet crude for January delivery fell 99 cents to settle at $62.44 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, January Brent crude futures fell $1.17 on the ICE Futures exchange to settle at $63.45 a barrel.

Some analysts suggested yesterday's slide was technical in nature.

Heating oil futures fell 3.88 cents to settle at $1.80 a gallon, unleaded gasoline edged down 1.81 cents to settle at $1.6 while natural gas prices dipped 61.6 cents to settle at $7.80 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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