LONDON (AFP) - World oil prices fell further on Friday as poor US economic data raised worries about weak energy demand, dealers said. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in October dropped 56 cents to 74.74 dollars a barrel in midday London trade. New Yorks main contract, light sweet crude for September, shed 67 cents to 73.76 dollars. Crude oil prices remained under pressure near a six-week low below 74 dollars per barrel, following overnight heavy losses in the US and Asian equity markets that dampened sentiment and prompted investors to ... sell off in the energy market, said Myrto Sokou, an analyst at Sucden Financial Research. The energy market is looking out of breath and momentum, and it is likely that crude oil prices will possibly see a second week of heavy losses, she added. Oil prices fell sharply on Thursday in response to a batch of weak data which sparked fresh fears about the US economic recovery. The US government said the number of Americans filing new weekly claims for jobless benefits jumped unexpectedly to 500,000, the highest level in nine months, threatening recovery hopes. Market sentiment had been dampened on Wednesday by news of a lower-than-expected fall in US crude reserves. US crude reserves fell 800,000 barrels in the week ending August 13, less than forecast, official figures showed. Gasoline (petrol) inventories were flat, while analysts had predicted a drop of 500,000 barrels. Levels of oil inventories remain at high levels, showing an oversupplied market, Sokou said. HK gold higher HONG KONG (AFP) - Gold closed at 1,230.00-1,231.00 US dollars an ounce in Hong Kong on Friday, up from Thursdays close of 1,229.50-1,230.50 dollars. It opened at 1,231.00-1,232.00. Rupee flat KARACHI (Reuters) - In the currency market, the rupee ended almost flat at 85.62/67 to the dollar, compared with Thursdays close of 85.62/70. Govt paper KARACHI (Reuters) - The SBP bought back 17.7 billion rupees ($206.6 million) of government paper on Friday under seven-, and 14-day reverse repo contracts at 12.25 percent and 12.23 percent respectively.