Singapore: Oil prices fell in Asia on Monday as US refineries cut crude production in anticipation of a plunge in energy demand ahead of the Hurricane Sandy megastorm, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in December shed 32 cents to USD 85.96 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for December delivery fell 51 cents to USD 109.04.

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A projected fall in energy demand in the world's largest oil consumer as Hurricane Sandy menaced the US East Coast led refineries to slash production and traders to evacuate the market.

"Oil has fallen and the market is reacting to Hurricane Sandy which is affecting the US east coast," said Victor Shum, senior principal of Purvin and Gertz energy consultants in Singapore.

"Quite a few refineries on the east coast have reduced throughput in preparation for the hurricane to hit the US east coast and that means crude oil consumption is going to come down," he told.

After claiming 66 lives in the Caribbean, Hurricane Sandy forced a lockdown in the US eastern seaboard as 10 states declared states of emergency, including the capital
Washington.

Airports, businesses, schools and even the Statue of Liberty brought down their shutters as nervous Americans stripped supermarket shelves of water, bread and batteries before the hurricane hit.

US President Barack Obama also on Sunday urged Americans to take the storm "very seriously".

(Agencies)

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