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Oil Prices Ease as Concerned Traders Watch the US Vote

World oil prices stayed below $50 a barrel for a second day Tuesday as traders waited for results in the U.S. presidential election.

Many analysts said a win by challenger John Kerry would tend to ease oil prices. The Democratic Party candidate has said he would stop filling the huge U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve at this time of near-record prices.

The reserve currently has 670 million barrels of oil in underground caverns, in the southern United States.

President Bush, the Republican Party incumbent, has pledged to continue filling the reserve until it reaches its capacity of 700 million barrels.

Supporters say the oil may be badly needed in an emergency, but critics argue buying hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day needlessly boosts prices at a time of strong demand and tight supplies.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.