January 22, 2015 / 7:17 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Oil drop a 'great opportunity' but don't rush in now -Icahn

(Adds context on energy shares, dollar)

NEW YORK, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, whose portfolio is stocked with oil companies, said on Thursday that he expects the price of oil to fall further before it recovers on increased demand.

"I believe that oil will go lower," Icahn said in an interview on CNBC, calling the commodity a "great opportunity."

But, he added, "I wouldn't rush in now on oil."

The activist investor said he expects demand to increase in the future, though he declined to say when or how that could happen.

Crude prices have collapsed by more than half since June, sending share prices for many energy companies sharply lower.

The S&P 500's energy sector has fallen about 23 percent since mid-June, as the decline in oil prompted many investors to dump energy stocks.

Icahn likes to underscore his long investment horizons and noted that, in the end, they often pay off handsomely. One of those is a bet that the euro would fall against the dollar, something that he said he grit his teeth over when the European currency was rising.

Icahn said he placed the currency bet about 2-1/2 to three years ago, when one euro bought about $1.28 U.S. dollars.

While one euro bought as many as $1.3992 U.S. dollars in May, the currency has slid since then. On Thursday it hit $1.13675, its lowest against the dollar since September 2003.

The U.S. dollar has steadily advanced against a basket of major currencies since June as growth in the world's largest economy outstrips that of many developed peers.

Indeed, the European Central Bank on Thursday launched a bond-buying program to prop up flagging growth across the monetary union. (Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Luciana Lopez; Editing by Chris Reese and Tom Brown)

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