Oil Demand Lowest Since 2001 Apr05

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Oil Demand Lowest Since 2001

* U.S. Fed lowers volume on stimulus talk

* Saudi to maintain output level even if reserves tapped

* N. Sea platform problems, cargo delays curb Brent losses

* Coming up: EIA oil data 10:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday

By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK, April 3 (Reuters) – Oil fell on Tuesday as caution over lackluster demand growth and fading expectations for more monetary stimulus from the U.S. central bank countered concerns about potential supply disruptions.

Federal Reserve policymakers appear less inclined to launch a fresh round of monetary stimulus as the U.S. economy gradually improves, according to minutes for the central bank’s March meeting.

Oil prices also felt pressure from news that, according to industry sources, Saudi Arabia is likely to maintain high oil production in the event consumer countries release strategic oil reserves, though the kingdom will not seek to attract buyers for more oil by discounting its crude.

Already weighing on U.S. crude was Monday’s report from the Energy Information Administration showing U.S. oil demand in January fell 4.5 percent year-on-year, with January gasoline demand the weakest since 2001.

via REFILE-UPDATE 8-Oil slips on demand caution, Fed minutes | Reuters.

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