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Oil prices may fall to $70 if dollar toughens, Iran crisis softens
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Oil should be trading at between about 70 U.S. dollars to 80 dollars per barrel if the dollar strengthens and the Iranian nuclear crisis is defused, Chakib Khelil, rotating president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said on Saturday.

OPEC President Chakib Khelil answers questions at the presidential palace in Algiers June 9, 2008.

He made the prediction in his brief remarks to reporters, noting "there could be volatility ... but normally long-term oil prices should move in that lower direction without the interference of geopolitics or of the U.S. monetary policy."

He said the recent meeting between senior U.S. diplomat William Burns and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Geneva and the strengthening of dollar were the main factors that helped push the oil prices down rather than changes in supply and demand.

"I do not see a fall in demand ... (and) supply is the same," said Khelil who is also Algeria's Minister of Energy and Mines.

The OPEC head also voiced dissatisfaction with some European countries' insistence on promoting bio-ethanol energy.

Oil prices for September delivery fell to 123.26 dollars per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and to 124.52 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London on Friday, the lowest in seven weeks.

(Xinhua News Agency July 27, 2008)

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