By Biman Mukherji

Oil futures fell in Asia trade Friday on a stronger dollar and amid few signs that major oil producers would be able to come to a deal to limit output.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in January traded at $44.94 a barrel at 0346 GMT, down 49 cents in the Globex electronic session. January Brent crude on London's ICE Futures exchange fell 41 cents to $46.08 a barrel.

The U.S. dollar has been rising after comments from the Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen raised expectations that the central bank will raise interest rates next month. The victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election has also boosted hopes that he will introduce policies that will be more supportive of U.S. shale oil production.

Going forward, oil prices are likely to take direction from statements made by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on the sidelines of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, taking place in Doha, said Peter Lee, Asia oil and gas analyst at BMI Research.

OPEC, the 14-nation cartel that controls over a third of the world's oil, is trying to formalize a deal to cut production to between 32.5 million and 33 million barrels a day from record levels of 33.83 million barrels a day in October.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television on Thursday that he is "optimistic" that OPEC's members will formalize the tentative deal they reached in September and set production limits for individual countries.

But observers are skeptical about a quick outcome.

"There is a lot of uncertainty on OPEC's ability to reach anoutcome," said Mr. Lee. "I am personally not optimistic."

However, he said that oil prices are likely to strengthen next year when some production cuts are expected by some OPEC members coupled with production declines outside the cartel because of slowing investments.

Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock--the benchmark gasoline contract-- was down 90 points to $1.4380 a gallon.

ICE gasoil for December changed hands at $420.25 a metric ton, down $3.25 from Thursday's settlement.

Write to Biman Mukherji at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 17, 2016 23:25 ET (04:25 GMT)

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