Oil prices extend fall to below US$46 after 5% plunge on Monday

TOKYO (REUTERS) - US crude futures extended declines for a third straight session on Tuesday, following a near 5 per cent fall the previous day, after Goldman Sachs warned that prices would fall further and Gulf oil producers showed no sign of cutting output.

Nymex crude for February delivery was down 25 US cents at US$45.82 a barrel by 2348 GMT, after settling down US$2.29 at US$46.07 on Monday. It fell as low as US$45.62 on Monday, the lowest since April 2009.

London Brent crude for February delivery was untraded yet, after settling down US$2.68 at US$47.43.

Goldman slashed its three-month forecasts for Brent to US$42 a barrel from US$80 on Monday, saying fuel prices needed to stay low for much longer in order to curb production and end a global supply glut. It cut its outlook for the U.S. futures contract to US$41 from US$70.

Amid growing signs that US shale drillers are hitting the brakes, the number of rigs drilling for oil in No.2 US oil producer North Dakota fell by eight to 159, the lowest since November 2010.

A diplomatic push by Venezuela and Iran for an Opec oil output cut has failed to soften the refusal of the group's Gulf members to do so for now, delegates said on Monday.

US commercial crude oil stockpiles were forecast to have remained unchanged in the week ending Jan. 9, while stocks of distillates and gasoline likely increased by more than two million barrels, a preliminary Reuters survey showed on Monday.

The survey was taken ahead of a weekly inventory report from the American Petroleum Institute later in the day.

US stocks fell for a second straight session on Monday, led by another sharp decline in energy shares as oil prices tumbled about 5 per cent and concern grew ahead of corporate earnings season.

The US dollar fell against the yen on Monday in volatile trading, pressured by weakness in U.S. stocks as the currency's positive outlook was somewhat diminished by surprisingly weak US wage data on Friday.