NEW YORK — A strong warning from the World Bank that growth in Asia may slow further dragged the price of oil Monday to its lowest close in two months.
The World Bank signaled the possibility of a "more pronounced slowdown" in China, the world's second largest economy after the United States. It also cut its growth forecast for Asia. Red-hot growth in emerging markets like China and India helped boost oil consumption coming out of the global recession.
Benchmark crude fell 55 cents to close at $89.33 in New York. The contract hasn't closed lower since Aug. 2.
At the pump, gas prices remain stubbornly high. The national average for gasoline rose 3 cents over the weekend to $3.818 a gallon. But Californians are now paying an average of $4.668 a gallon, the highest price in the nation, after a jump of 50 cents in the past week. Some motorists there are paying over $5.
In response, Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered state smog regulators to allow cheaper winter-blend gas to be sold three weeks early. And Sen. Dianne Feinstein has called for a federal investigation because she doesn't think the higher prices are related to supply and demand.
Experts are predicting prices in California could climb to an average of $4.85 before coming down.
In London, Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 20 cents to $111.82.
Other futures in morning trading:
_ Natural gas gained less than a penny to reach $3.40 per 1,000 cubic feet.
_ Heating oil lost a penny to close at $3.14 per gallon.
_ Wholesale gasoline fell 6 cents to finish at $2.89 per gallon.