Crude Ends Lower: Can't Buy A Rally All Of A Sudden

After being in positive territory for most of the day crude oil eventually fell late Thursday on speculation that fuel consumption declines in the U.S. will spread to other countries as their economies slow.

Suddenly focus seems to be on consumption, not sporadic supply disruptions. Things that would have sent crude soaring a few months ago are seeming to have little effect all of a sudden said one trader.

US gasoline demand was down 2.1 percent through July as record prices and slower economic growth cut consumer spending, an American Petroleum Institute report showed yesterday. Europe's economy contracted for the first time since the introduction of the euro almost a decade ago, a report showed today.

"The market is much more focused on demand destruction than on supply concerns," said Nauman Barakat, senior vice president of global energy futures at Macquarie Futureone analyst "The concern now is that the demand destruction in the U.S. will spread like a virus to other countries."

Crude oil for September delivery fell 99 cents to settle at $115.01 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.