International oil prices are likely to drop in the second half of the year on weakening demand, but the fall may be limited due to political unrest in the Middle East, a report said Wednesday.
The average price of Dubai crude, which accounts for about 80 percent of South Korea's oil imports, is expected to fall to US$100 per barrel in the July-December period from $106 in the first half, said the report by a government-civilian panel.
The price of Dubai crude peaked at $119.23 per barrel on April 28, but has been declining. Dubai crude traded at $103.42 per barrel on Wednesday, according to the state-run Korea National Oil Corp.
"Global oil prices recently dropped by a large margin due to concerns of a global economic slowdown prompted by a downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, worsening economic indicators and the continued financial crisis of Europe," the report said.
International crude prices will trend lower in the second half of 2011 due to sluggish demand stemming from a slowdown of the global economic recovery, the strong U.S. dollar and improvements in oil supplies, it added.
The report, however, said the drop will likely be limited as political unrest in the Middle Eastern and North African countries, best demonstrated by Libya's suspension of its supply of 1.2 million barrels per day, will continue to add "risk premiums" to oil prices.