| GEO Business|
| Asian markets crude prices at the end of week falling|
| Updated at: 1209 PST, Friday, April 17, 2009|
SINGAPORE: Oil prices lingered near $50 a barrel Friday in Asia as investors weighed a possible second-half recovery of U.S. crude demand against recent dismal economic data reflecting a severe recession.
Benchmark crude for May delivery fell 33 cents to $49.65 a barrel by midday in Singapore in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract on Thursday rose 73 cents to settle at $49.98.
Oil prices have bobbed around $50 a barrel this month as the current backdrop of high unemployment, weak consumer demand and falling corporate profits has tempered investor optimism about an eventual economic rebound.
Falling crude demand and rising inventories have kept prices from rising higher. Storage facilities for crude oil in the U.S. have been swelling since the end of February, bloating to a nearly 19-year high last week.