) -- The International Energy Agency on Thursday reduced its forecasts for global oil product demand growth in 2011 on "persistent" high prices and weaker growth projections for advanced economies.

The IEA trimmed its outlook for 2011 oil demand growth by 190,000 barrels a day to 1.3 million barrels a day. Total oil demand in 2011 was forecasted at 89.2 million barrels a day versus 87.9 million barrels a day last year.

"Persistently high prices at this stage of the economic cycle may ultimately sow the seeds of their own destruction. Until then, the market confronts fundamentals that still look likely to tighten in the second half of 2011,"the IEA said.

The agency also said "$4 gallon gasoline is likely to yield an anemic U.S. driving season," adding it's the main change to the cut in its 2011 oil demand forecast.

Crude oil prices fell $1.25 to $96.96 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange early Thursday. The contract dropped $5.67 to settle at $98.21 on Wednesday.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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