Oil prices slip on strong dollar, US energy report

World oil prices dipped on Wednesday, reversing earlier gains on the back of the rebounding dollar and the latest crude inventories report from top consumer the United States, dealers said.

Brent North Sea crude for January fell 76 cents to $109.07 per barrel in early evening deals in London.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in January, shed 41 cents to $88.09 a barrel.

Traders took their cue from the stronger greenback, which makes dollar-priced crude more expensive for buyers using weaker currencies. That tends to dent oil demand and lower prices.

In addition, the US government's Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in a key report that US crude oil reserves had slumped by 2.4 million barrels in the week ending November 30.

"Today saw crude oil (prices) fall sharply as the dollar rallied following the release of disappointing data releases in Europe and mixed pointers in the US," said analyst Fawad Razaqzada at trading group GFT.

"The most relevant data for crude oil was EIA's inventories data which showed a bigger-than-expected 2.4 million barrels drawdown last week.

"But investors reacted negatively to the news, probably because inventories remained "well above the upper limit of the average range for this time of year," according to the EIA.

"This suggests demand is not quite there at the moment. In fact prices may have to fall much further before stabilising."

The EIA added that US gasoline or petrol stockpiles jumped 7.9 million barrels last week, which was far larger increase than analysts were expecting.

Stocks of distillates -- which include heating oil and diesel -- increased by three million barrels.

Crude futures had fallen on Tuesday amid US budget talks that are aimed at avoiding the fiscal cliff of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that are due to kick in on January 1.

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